Together We Run

The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp, commonly referred to as JROTC, will be commemorating its 100th Anniversary on April 23rd, 2016 with a 5K fun run. This is not just any ordinary 5K. JROTC units from across the globe will be celebrating this special event all at the same time. An exciting possibility that could result from having enough people join is breaking the Guinness Book of World Records for most participants in an event worldwide.This is not the first year JROTC will be celebrating its birthday with a 5K, but this is the first time a cadet from George Washington High School Army JROTC Warrior’s Battalion will be planning one of this scale hoping to represent the island of Guam.

            I was first given the task of coordinating the 5K run by my Senior Army Instructor Captain Joseph A. Santos mid-February. I had never coordinated a 5K before so I gladly jumped at the opportunity. Thinking back at that moment, I was not fully aware of the amount of time and effort required to oversee such an event. Thankfully, the leadership skills I acquired in my 2+ years of being in my school’s JROTC program helped prepare me to face these challenges head on.

            The lessons JROTC taught me, ranging from time management to a stronger sense of responsibility, were not ones I planned on learning through this program. Truthfully, I never considered joining JROTC. Like many others I imagined the program to be geared toward students with the military being in their future plans. I soon learned that I was wrong and that JROTC had more lessons and opportunities to offer such as participating in annual national competitions that allow us to connect with cadets and instructors across the United States.

            My home is the island of Guam, which is located in the middle of the Western Pacific. The average flight time between Guam and Honolulu, Hawaii is around 7 hours. This distance between cadets here in Guam and cadets in the U.S. limits our chances of working alongside each other. With today’s technology this gap is not a big as it once was. One of the challenges we faced here in organizing the 5k was dealing with the significant time difference. A popular motto of Guam is “Where America’s Day Begins”. The reason for this is that Guam’s time zone is UTC/GMT +10:00 and thus we are several hours ahead of many parts of the U.S. In order for us to match the time it is going to be celebrated in the mainland, our 5k here will have to be held on Sunday, April 24th at 1AM Guam time. The sense of unity one would gain as being part of the JROTC family makes this an easy sacrifice.

Despite everyone being in different corners of the world, our common goal of celebrating JROTC’s 100th Anniversary has brought us together as one unit commemorating the numerous contributions made by past and present units since 1916 as well as preparing for future units and leaders to come. As we cheer here on Guam, BIBA JROTC!