Junior ROTC

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LTC Lenny Cianciotto
Senior Army Instructor

CSM Vincent McCormick
Army Instructor

San Marcos Academy has a strong military connection which dates back to the World War I era, when the school was granted a Junior ROTC unit. The Academy requires all American upper school boys to participate in the Junior ROTC program during their first semester of attendance. Other than this requirement, participation in Junior ROTC is voluntary for both boys and girls. The San Marcos Academy Junior ROTC program is affiliated with the United States Army and is designated as an Honor Unit with Distinction.

History of Army Junior ROTC
The United States Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, Junior ROTC, came into being with the passage of the National Defense Act of 1916. Junior ROTC is a continuing success story. From a modest beginning of 6 units in 1916, Junior ROTC has expanded to more than 1700 schools today and to every state in the nation as well as to American schools overseas. Comprised solely of Army retirees, the Junior ROTC instructors serve as mentors developing the outstanding young citizens.

Purpose of Junior ROTC
The purpose of the Army Junior ROTC is to teach students character education, academic achievement, wellness, leadership, and diversity. It is a cooperative effort between the Army and the high schools to produce successful students and citizens, while fostering in each school a more constructive and disciplined learning environment. . For more information on the value of the Junior ROTC program, read the blog by LTC Lenny Cianciotto.

Goals of Junior ROTC

  • To develop students who act with integrity and personal accountability as they lead others to succeed in a diverse and global workforce
  • To encourage students to engage with civic and social concerns in the community, government, and society
  • To graduate young men and women who are prepared to excel in post-secondary options and career pathways
  • To teach young men and women to make sound decisions that promote positive social, emotional and physical health
  • To instill an understanding of the military’s role in our history so as to promote value of the role of the military and other service organizations

San Marcos Junior ROTC Bear Battalion
San Marcos Academy launched its program of military training in 1917. The United States Army granted the Academy a Junior Unit of the Reserve Officers Training Corps that year. Immediately, the military uniform and discipline became part of the life of the students of San Marcos Academy, instilling self-discipline, patriotism, leadership, and responsibility.

Today participation in Junior ROTC is required for all upper school boys who are U.S. citizens for their first fall semester of attendance at SMA.  This includes transfer students as well as current SMA middle schoolers moving into the upper school.  After this, participation is voluntary.  Additionally, membership in the Corps of Cadets is available on a voluntary basis to all upper school students, including females and international students, who choose to participate.  Students participating in the Corps of Cadets are issued a military uniform to wear on designated days. Cadets also are required to participate in a Leadership Lab. There is NO obligation of any kind to join the military after high school.

The Academy’s Junior ROTC Program has been designated an “Honor Unit With Distinction” by Headquarters, U.S. Army Cadet Command, Fort Knox, Kentucky. This designation is the highest rating available to a Junior ROTC unit and represents the top Junior ROTC programs within the United States. The Academy’s military program has been approved by the United States Attorney General for students of foreign countries.  

Traditions of the Junior ROTC Bear Battalion
Military Ball: The Junior ROTC Military Ball is an annual formal event for the Bear Battalion. It gives our young people the opportunity to enjoy and appropriately interact with their peers in a formal setting. The Military Ball is a long-standing military tradition which is intended to enhance the camaraderie among a unit’s members and teach the Cadets proper manners, greetings and other formalities. Attendance at the Military Ball is mandatory for all Junior ROTC cadets.

Promotion and Awards Ceremonies: During the Fall and Spring, the Bear Battalion presents a modified promotion ceremony. Likewise there are awards ceremonies in the fall and spring.  Parents and family members are invited to view these ceremonies.

Bear Battalion Teams
Color Guard: The Color Guard consists of four members: an American Flag, Texas Flag, and two guards. Our team presents or posts colors at different events such as football games, school and community ceremonies, etc.  We also have opportunity to compete at various competitions.

Marksmanship Team: We have an active marksmanship team who are able to compete at select events.

Sabre Guard: This team is called upon to provide a formal introduction for participants during special events. The Guard practices the week before they are scheduled for performance.

Orienteering Team: While there is no routine practice for this team, the Bear Battalion participates in several orienteering meets throughout the year.

Raider Team: TBD

For more information about the Academy’s Junior ROTC program, contact the Senior Army Instructor, LTC (R) Lenny Cianciotto, at [email protected]

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