UA Army ROTC works on recruitment, hosts JROTC competition
Gabriela Diaz / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Daniel Coffeen, chief operations officer and Amy Dodd, public affairs officer, organized the first JROTC drill and ceremony competition on Jan. 12. Coffeen is a public health senior and Dodd is a senior studying political science, psychology and Russian.
The UA is focusing on attracting local high school cadets to the ROTC program in an effort to boost Army program involvement.
The UA Army ROTC isn’t having any problems getting students involved; however, its goal of having 24 cadets become commissioned officers after graduation each year requires that approximately 40 new cadets join each year. The UA ROTC held its first ever JROTC drill and ceremony competition outside the Student Union Memorial Center on Jan. 12 to showcase the university and the ROTC program and help attract local high school JROTC cadets.
“This gives the cadets at those JROTC battalions an opportunity to see the campus, and also an opportunity for us to showcase the University of Arizona to those prospective students,” said Maj. Benjamin J. Walters, a professor of military science.
There are six area high school JROTC programs aligned with the UA Army ROTC program, Walters said.
The idea for this competition was brought to Walters a year and half ago by a cadre from one of the aligned JROTC programs. Walters placed the responsibility for the competition on his cadets.
Cadet Amy Dodd, a senior studying political science, psychology and Russian and the program’s public affairs officer, was heavily involved with organizing the competition. A few UA cadres and cadets observed another JROTC drill and ceremony competition before the UA’s competition, according to Dodd, to get an idea of how they are run.
Cadet Daniel Coffeen, a public health senior and the chief operations officer for the UA Army ROTC, was in charge of planning the competition.
A team of 40 cadets helped put the UA competition together and a reserve drill sergeant unit provided the judges, Coffeen said. A local Tucson Army recruiting company also helped with the event and with finding sponsors.
“I went around and talked to most of the [JROTC] cadets and they seemed to be enjoying it, so they had a good time,” Dodd said.
The UA Army ROTC program plans on making this competition an annual event and possibly bringing in even more JROTC programs next year, according to Walters.
“I think it was a great event that we definitely need to continue with, not just as our responsibility as a university to give back to the community but also to bring exposure to the university and the Army,” Coffeen said. “So that some of the kids that are in the local high schools stay here in the Tucson area, we really want to keep all those kids that graduate from high school here in Tucson.”