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Kentucky's Junior Guard Program

If you are a member of the military drill world then you have most likely heard of JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Program) which is in hundreds of high schools across the nation; ROTC, the senior program that is in hundreds of colleges and universities, is the senior partner. Each branch of the military has an ROTC program: Army, Marines, Navy and the Air Force. The Coast Guard has two JROTC-like programs with one in southern Florida and one in North Carolina. The Merchant Marines don’t have a program, but do have the Merchant Marine Academy.

Now, let me introduce you to a fairly new program that is only in the state of Kentucky: Jr. Guard. It’s the Army’s National Guard program for five Kentucky high schools. Make that four Kentucky high schools. The school board at Lincoln County High School has deemed it necessary to remove the program. Here is part of a message a Marine friend of mine received:

“Good evening Sgt., i was wondering if you could do me a favor? You see, this September, i will be enlisting in the Marine Corps. We had a program in my high school that was dropped because of budget cuts. The thing is, the school never payed us anything, they never did anything for us, we were funded through the national guard, and then the national guard stopped funding us, we paid out of our pockets. Then on the last day of school, they fired our instructor, SFC Eddie Jones and took the program out of high school. For me and other Jr Guardsmen, this was our life, most of us plan on joining the military here soon. We were using the program to prepare us, but they cut it out. and well, i was wondering, if you could like the page Help Save Jr Guard at LCHS and maybe say something about it? We would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for your time Sgt. Semper Fi

Please go here to “Like” the page and add your support.

Folks, we need to save student programs: band, JROTC, art, all of these types of classes that enrich the lives of the students beyond the measure of test scores. The types of classes/programs that help shape and build the character of the students taking part. Read here how the program has improved the students!!

Some information about this great program:

  • The JR. Guard program is a collaborative partnership between our Youth Service Center and the 1/623rd Kentucky Army National Guard. The program began in the 1995-96 school year with approximately 15 students. The idea was to target “at-risk” kids who were falling through the cracks of our educational system. Students are provided with a JR. ROTC-like opportunity that links our school and the military. Through this opportunity we hope to find a niche for those students who may not be able to find there way elsewhere in the school.
  • The students in the program are linked with National Guard who serve as mentors. These mentors meet with the students on a regular basis.
    -They participate in experiential activities that demonstrate the value of classroom learning with adult guardsmen.
  • The students are taught things like self-discipline, rappelling, marching, drill and ceremony, use of night vision goggles, map reading, marksmanship, military etiquette, first aid, physical fitness, and the list goes on and on.
  • The culmination of the year brings the students to our annual FTX (Field Training Exercise). At the FTX, students put into play, what they have been practicing all year long.
  • During the 1998-99 school year, the Kentucky School Boards Association, through their Public Education Achieves in Kentucky (PEAK) Award, recognized [the program’s innovative] design because it enhances student learning and promotes public education.
  • While the program initially targeted an “at-risk” population, the popularity of the program has grown so that there is a waiting list every year of the students and parents who want to participate in the program.
  • We have seen a reduction in disciplinary problems with these students and a dramatic improvement in student self-esteem and achievement.
  • Currently the program includes students in grades 6th-12th at participating schools. The schools that are participating are in 8 different school systems across the state of Kentucky

I found this info here.

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Your Command Voice

Have you considered your command voice? Have you looked at your service’s manual and actually read about what it says on the proper way to call commands? No, it doesn’t say monotone is OK, it doesn’t say the gravel-in-your-throat style is a good style, it says use inflection, be clear and more! Read! Don’t rely on a senior cadet to tell you what you need to do (as with EVERYTHING else!)- read it for yourself!

“Well, I call commands like this.” “At my school we, [fill in the blank here].” Ever hear of standardization? That is what the military is about, standardizing. Your personal style, what you may think is really cool, does not matter. Stop it.

Click here to listen to some examples of commands in MP3 format and how to call them.

Also read this article, “Root Step” and Command Pronunciation.

When calling commands your voice should have inflection and NOT be monotone (some Navy cadets do this and I cannot figure out why). You should also enunciate each syllable and not leave off the first or last letter or substitute letters:

  • There is no such thing is “Righ, HACE“.
  • The USAF does allow, Forward, HARCH, (it’s in a picture, not text) the other services use MARCH.
  • There is no such thing as “A-Ten-Hut”, or any other number to bring a formation to Attention.
  • There is no need to growl your commands- that means you are calling from your throat. Stop, or you will have problems later in life.
  • There is no such thing is “Orward, ARCH“.

Here is a snippet from my book, The Honor Guard Manual.

•The ability of your voice to reach whatever distance necessary without undue strain.
•Voice is focused on the person farthest away.
•Assume the position of Attention, breathe properly, relax throat, open mouth and push the air out of your lungs from the diaphragm (place your hand on the top of your stomach, just under your ribcage and try to make those muscles tighten when giving commands).

Distinctness (Clarity)
•Distinct commands are effective; indistinct commands cause confusion.
•Clearly enunciate; use tongue, lips, and teeth to form words and word parts.
•Develop the ability to give clear, distinct commands. Practice giving commands slowly and carefully, prolonging the syllables. Gradually increase the rate of delivery to develop proper cadence, still enunciating each syllable distinctly.

Note: Honor Guard cadence is slow; approximately 90 beats per minute

•The rise and fall in pitch and the tone changes of the voice.
•Starting at a normal speaking voice, pronounce the preparatory command with rising inflection.
•A properly delivered Command of execution should have no inflection.
•Command of execution should have a higher pitch than the preparatory command.

•Expresses confidence and decisiveness
•Expresses knowledge of commands and proper execution
•Commands are called at the proper time and in the proper manner

So, now that you have the info, straight from the manual, you will be able to properly call commands!

Happy drilling!