SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The 40th Annual JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge, or JCLC, was conducted at Area X, here, March 11-17.

The 25th Infantry Division, along with other military units, sponsored the event that drew 355 Army and Air Force JROTC cadets from 27 local high schools.

The event's goal was for cadets to have fun while learning to lead and "to motivate young people to become better citizens," the mission of JROTC.

"We also help the students develop leadership skills and then apply those (skills) to lead other cadets they meet for the first time," said retired Lt. Col. Antoinelte Correia, director, Army Instruction, JROTC program. "We expose them to a military environment to help build self-confidence from working in unfamiliar situations to accomplish a mission."

Four cadets were selected from each school to attend the Advanced JCLC, or AJCLC. They were challenged with squad and platoon drill, as well as physical fitness; they interviewed for their JCLC leadership positions.

As the rest of the cadets began arriving, AJCLC cadet leaders greeted and quickly in-processed them, which included setting-up more than 25 tents. Cadets were then divided into four training battalions in the JCLC Training Brigade.

Cadets' adventure training included rappelling, constructing and crossing a rope-bridge, drown-proofing and negotiating the leadership reaction course, or LRC.

The rappelling site included hands-on training, with safety as the most important aspect. Cadets wore commercial-seat harnesses and rappelled down a 30-foot vertical hill. Some of the cadets were terrified, but Army senior and assistant instructors, along with other cadets, encouraged and coached them to success.

Each year, service members from different branches volunteer to supervise and conduct the challenge lanes. This year was the first the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th ID, provided support.

"We provided combat life savers, dining facility support and Soldiers to supervise and conduct the rappelling training the students participated in," said Staff Sgt. Ronnie Williams, operations noncommissioned officer in charge, Headquarters Support Company, 209th Aviation Support Battalion, "Lobos," 25th CAB.

"The training the students are doing out here is great," Williams added. "It allows them to get hands-on to some of the training the Army does, and they get to talk to Soldiers who can answer some of their questions."

"This (leadership) challenge is a very interesting opportunity to see what the Army is about," said Hong Yin Tam, cadet battalion commander, Theodore Roosevelt High School. "Being in JROTC is very rewarding. We get to learn skills to become a successful leader."

Other volunteers came from the 9th Mission Support Command, the Marines and the University of Hawaii ROTC program.

The 9th Mission Support Command led the rope-bridge construction and competition where cadets constructed a rope-bridge over a simulated river. Once the bridge was completed, each member of the team crossed the bridge.

Marines supervised drown-proofing at Richardson Pool, here. Cadets entered the pool, climbed up to the 15-foot platform and then stepped off into space, helping them to overcome fear of falling from high places. Cadets also learned how to use their shirt and pants for flotation to help prevent drowning.

The University of Hawaii ROTC unit sponsored the LRC where cadets worked as a team to solve many complicated problems in crossing an obstacle. Cadets were placed in leadership positions and negotiated obstacles within 20 minutes.

See video and more photos of the JROTC leadership challenge at www.jclc2011.weebly.com.

(Editor's Note: Sgt. Daniel Schroeder, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division, provided additional information for this article).

Page last updated Fri April 1st, 2011 at 16:44