TUBA CITY, Ariz. - Flagstaff's San Francisco Peaks Detachment of the Marine Corps League recognized last week the Marine Corps Junior ROTC at Tuba City High School for the group's community service with parking and traffic control during the Coconino County Fair.
"What a squared-away group of cadets" said Erv Boren, a spokesman for the detachment, who presented a plaque to the students. "Their dress and demeanor sure makes the Marine Corps proud and they are worthy of our recognition and appreciation."
The Marine Corps Junior ROTC Program was chartered in the high school in l973. It is one of 258 federally chartered programs serving high school students across the nation.
"The history of the Navajo Code Talkers inspires the students to enroll in the program," said Sgt. Major Michael Johnson, an instructor in the program.
During World War II, Navajo Marines, with their rifles and their radios, engaged in a series of island-hopping campaigns that helped win the war in the Pacific. Using the Navajo language the code talkers created a communication code for Marine Corps combatants that the enemy never cracked.
Students enrolled in the program are required to complete a standard high school academic course of study. In addition, they study a core curriculum consisting of leadership, citizenship, personal growth and responsibility, career exploration and public service, and general military subjects. The students compete in drill and marksmanship events. Every day they also engage in a physical fitness program designed to develop a high degree of physical fitness. Currently, 99 students are enrolled in the program out of a total school enrollment of 665.
"The program is not a recruiting tool for the Marine Corps," Johnson emphasized. "We are primarily interested in developing informed and responsible citizens who are physically fit and morally strong. Some of the cadets go on to college or into military service. Others remain home raising families and providing leadership in their local communities. We are proud of them all."