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The Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is a program which generally takes place in high school and sometimes college campuses with the goal of educating and training students in the practices of the United States Air Force. Students are generally required to learn actual military drills, wear uniforms, and move up the ranks. They are also taught facts about the Air Force, including officer ranking and insignia meanings, how it got started, and various career paths one may take by joining the military.
In many schools, the Air Force Junior ROTC is an option students may choose instead of conventional physical fitness classes. Most times, one or more days per week will be spent doing physical training, which includes running on a track, sit-ups, and push-ups. One or more days may also be spent doing drills and marches which are the same as those performed in the real Air Force.
Aside from the physical aspects, the Air Force Junior ROTC also educates students about the Air Force, including how one can enter and how one works his way up the ranks. Lessons may also be taught on the history of the Air Force, early planes, wars in which the Air Force played a major role, and famous recruits. Additional lessons may be given about the United States in general, as well as what national symbols and rituals mean.
Students who join the Air Force Junior ROTC are generally required to wear uniforms which look like real Air Force officer uniforms, save for the insignia. This generally includes a light blue shirt with long sleeves, light blue shirt with short sleeves, navy pants or skirt, hat, blazer, belt, black socks, and black shoes. They may be graded on wearing each item properly, as there are specific ways in which each item should be worn. For instance, the buckle of the belt should be aligned with the zipper of the pants and buttons of the blazer. Insignia, or identifying ribbons or patches given as a reward for various accomplishments, must be worn on the front left-hand side of the blazer, and are aligned differently for men and women.
Additional opportunities may be available to students in Air Force Junior ROTC, such as scholarship programs, drill team competitions, and special awards. Students are often awarded insignia badges for performing certain tasks well, and may be able to move up in the ranks among their classmates. Team leaders may be chosen to lead in drills and marches. Sometimes, special activities like parades may also be available for participation.
In most cases, the Air Force Junior ROTC classes are taught by military personnel, primarily those with higher ranks. They may be appointed by the Air Force; although in some cases they may be retired officers depending on the school and location. Students are required to address them using their rank and last name and are required to stand and salute when a superior officer enters a room.
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