Published: April 26, 2006
For PJC students, the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps offers a way to pay for college, get in shape, and sometimes find a secure career in the military. Although many students are unaware of it’s presence in the PJC course catalogue, ROTC is available to students year round through the University of West Florida.
The ROTC program at PJC is currently being offered as an elective course for all students. The course can be taken each semester, and students who are interested in the course can keep registering for it semester after semester until they graduate. Graduating students who have completed all four years of ROTC will become an active duty officer in the U.S. Army. Students that are a part of the program and need assistance paying tuition can also apply to ROTC for scholarships.
“It’s a program that goes hand in hand with future development and progression from PJC,” says Major Steven Duckworth, College Recruiter for PJC and UWF.
The program provides students with a wide variety of adventurous activities, as well as exercises to help develop leadership qualities and physical prowess. The activities include repelling, exploring the inside of a Blackhawk helicopter, and a whimsical field game involving two opposing teams volleying a six-foot rubber ball. The purpose of the program is to provide the training needed for a potential officer in the Army, but any student can join the program for a semester or two to simply partake in the extracurricular activities.
“It’s never too late to try ROTC,” Duckworth said.
Since student interest in ROTC has waned somewhat in recent years, PJC has been unable to install an ROTC facility on campus. Because of this, students from PJC who wish to take part in the program are asked to meet with Major Duckworth and his staff on the UWF campus.
Many students have found ROTC to be an incredibly beneficial experience.
“It was the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Second Lieutenant Vincent Sykes, a former member of ROTC, said. “I came on board, did two years of ROTC and now I’m a second lieutenant in the strongest army in the world. And I’m very excited about that.”