By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gabrielle Joyner, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Det. Hawaii
PEARL HARBOR -- Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) cadets from across Oahu participated in a 5K run on Ford Island, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, to celebrate the 99th anniversary of the JROTC Program, April 25.
This year, JROTC programs from around the world joined the run in an effort to beat the Guinness World Record for largest coordinated multi-location run. From Oahu alone, more than 700 cadets from approximately 15 different schools took part in the run.
“I believe we exceeded expectations,” said David Tom, school liaison officer for commander, Navy Region Hawaii. “To see the excitement and the energy of the kids here, coming in at zero-dark thirty on a Saturday morning when they could be sleeping in, was very impressive and inspiring for me.”
The JROTC came into being with the National Defense Act of 1916. Currently, the program runs through the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines and is taught as an elective course at more than 3,000 secondary schools nationwide.
“The JROTC program primarily helps to instill citizenship in our young men and women in high school,” said Retired Master Chief Paul Cavallaro. “It is not about trying to get them to want to join the military, but to teach them the importance of being good citizens and stewards within our community.”
According to Cavallaro, the anniversary 5K went a long way towards teaching leadership by helping the cadets learn how to take charge and put together such a large-scale event.
“I appreciate how much support we have gotten from the community and from all branches of the military for helping us do this today,” said Cavallaro. “We showed that when we want to come together and do something, there is nothing that we can’t accomplish.”
The goal was to have more than 101,246 runners participate to break the current record. Results from the event are currently pending.