FORT KNOX, Ky. (Jan. 4, 2012) -- Col. Hubert E. Bagley always knew that one day he would join the U.S. Army. Inspired by his father who served in the Army for 28 years, Bagley had the Army values instilled in him and the desire to serve from a very young age.
"I think I was always destined to be a Soldier in the U.S. Army," said Bagley. "It was Army recruiters who encouraged me to enroll in college, and during my sophomore year at school, I got a ROTC scholarship."
Still an officer in the Army 28 years later, Bagley's memorable career speaks for itself. Commissioned as a second lieutenant in military intelligence after graduating from Norfolk State University, his first assignment was in the 107th Military Intelligence Battalion, 7th Infantry Division, where he served as a platoon leader and company executive officer. Since then, Bagley has served as chief of staff for U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USAREC) and in a variety of command staff positions in the United States, Korea and Panama. He returned from a deployment in Iraq last December.
"I wanted to be a part of an institution like the U.S. Army so that I could give back to the community, my family and my friends," Bagley said. "More importantly, I wanted to be able to protect the nation, the greatest country in the world, when called upon or required to do so."
His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.
Today, as director of the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program, Bagley says the mission of JROTC is to motivate young people to be better citizens.
"I have the best last job in the Army," says Bagley, who would like to retire serving JROTC in the Army. "The young men and women that I visit throughout the country continually remind me what the Army JROTC values of citizenship, leadership, self-determination and bettering yourself are all about," he says.
JROTC, which currently consists of 1,731 units and over 320,000 students, provides exceptional educational opportunities and skills for America's youth. Of the several objectives of the program, it aims to maximize potential for success through learning and develop citizenship, characters, personal responsibility, a sense of accomplishment, leadership and a willingness to serve.
Several program statistics show just how valuable JROTC is in high schools. Cadets have higher attendance records, graduation rates and grade point averages. Congress also recognized the program's value by authorizing the expansion of JROTC to 3,700 units by 2020 in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2009.
"Unfortunately, there are some misconceptions of the JROTC program. People view it as a recruiting effort by the military," Bagley said, even though combat skills are not taught and there is no military obligation incurred by participating in the program. "We want to prepare young adults for life, whether that's for Army service, college or other employment opportunities."
JROTC holds several national events throughout the year to expose cadets to unique opportunities. Upcoming JROTC events in 2012 include the Cadet Command JROTC Air Rifle Championships, the 1st Annual Army National Drill Competition and the 4th Annual Army JROTC Leadership Symposium and Academic Bowl.