Tough physical conditioning, discipline training and working to build character. This weekend junior Ethan Um will continue to delve into service academy life through a challenging leadership course.
Um’s Unit of the Air Force division Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps is holding a Cadet Leadership Course from May 26 to 30, commonly referred to as Memorial Day weekend. Only 26 of the hundreds of AFJROTC Cadets eligible for the program were selected, including Um.
“It’s open to everyone in our unit, but it’s quite selective,” Um said of the program. “The aim of CLC is to hone the leadership and followership skills we’ve learned” in AFJROTC.
Um said the course will consist of physical training.
“Part of the schedule is beginning the day with physical training at 05:00. It’s also expected that we’re going to march around 50-60 miles during the course.”
Another aspect is spending time on a real military base. Um said he will stay at Joint Base Andrews in Prince George’s County, Maryland for the five days of training.
“I feel very excited because I’ll be living and learning in an environment I’ve never been in before,” Um said.
The only member of his family to consider joining the military, Um said he became part of AFJROTC to help fulfill a long-held desire.
“A common misconception is that JROTC is just a class for people who want to join the military,” Um said. “Originally the program interested me because I figured that it would help me with my dream of attending a service academy. However, as I progressed through the program I’ve come to love the instruction that’s given to improve your character.”
Um said the Training Corps highly values leadership and integrity.
“Sometimes I actually forget about the military aspects of the program because of the heavy emphasis on leadership, character, and citizenship,” he said. “Being in AFJROTC means that you are a Cadet, not just a student; therefore, it is imperative that you hold yourself to a higher standard, always applying the core values to everything you do, all the time, no matter what happens.”
After high school, Um said he still plans to fulfill his dream and attend a service academy.