Allen Cooper and Eric Hunter | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Allen Cooper and Eric Hunter

Recently, around 200 cadets from Junior Reserve Officers' Training Course programs across Mississippi participated in a Leader's Training Course at Fort Knox in Kentucky.

Recently, around 200 cadets from Junior Reserve Officers' Training Course programs across Mississippi participated in a Leader's Training Course at Fort Knox in Kentucky. Photo by Courtesy Flickr/Familymwr

Recently, around 200 cadets from Junior Reserve Officers' Training Course programs across Mississippi participated in a Leader's Training Course at Fort Knox in Kentucky. The course lasted five days, and included challenges such as rock climbing, water survival and rappelling, all of which are intended to promote leadership and teamwork. Cadets also received instruction in the seven basic military values: respect, selfless service, honor, personal courage, loyalty, duty and integrity.

Allen Cooper, a 16-year-old student at Wingfield High School, participated in the program. Cooper's cousin encouraged him to enroll in JROTC during his freshman year of high school. His career plan includes going into the National Guard after graduating and then studying mechanical engineering in college on a military scholarship.

"I got to meet a lot of different people from Jackson and other cities at the training course," Cooper said. "I met lots of friends from other schools. I met the sergeants running the course; they're cool people to be around."

"In ROTC, you learn how to be a better citizen, how to be a lot of things," Cooper said. "In my freshman year, I learned about being oriented, how to lead and to follow. In my sophomore year I learned a lot about eating right, how to carry myself, conduct myself and be a good leader. Getting into ROTC is fun. You learn a lot and it will be a good experience to have throughout high school."

Eric Hunter, also 16 and a student at Wingfield, participated in the course along with Cooper. Hunter's older sister encouraged him to join after her own experiences in ROTC.

"My sister told me that I'd never be bored if I got into ROTC," Hunter said. "I think everyone who wants to learn how to step up and adapt to certain situations should join up. This will get you out of your comfort zone and make you a better person in life. At the training course, we had to learn how to adapt quickly, how to wake up at 5 in the morning and move around doing something all day. This is my second year in ROTC, and this year I felt like I was more of a leader."

For more information about the Leader's Training Course program or the Junior ROTC program, please contact the program's public affairs office at 502-624-2609 or visit the ROTC website.

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