The Delaware County Air Force Junior ROTC Unit OH-012 will celebrate its 50th anniversary next month and the program’s instructors are actively seeking former instructors and administrators who brought the program to the area.
The program is available to students who attend any of these seven schools: Rutherford B. Hayes, all three Olentangy high schools, Buckeye Valley, Big Walnut, OASIS Academy, Delaware Christian, Worthington high schools and those who are home-schooled in the county.
The county’s unit was inaugurated in August 1966, along with 19 other pilot units across the nation by Congress. There are now 11 of those units active now including Delaware County’s and the program has 889 units worldwide, said retired Air Force Lt. Col. Russ Anible.
The program included voluntary extracurricular activities, such as field trips, drill teams, air-rifle teams, rocket club and community service projects. It also offers courses such as science and history of aviation, space exploration, global cultural studies, survival skills, and college and career planning.
“It’s like a triple threat,” Anible said. “It’s the coolest possible elective course you can take. It’s a competitive team, and it’s a student club, all rolled into one neat package.”
Although chartered by Congress, Junior ROTC is not an extension of any branch of the armed services, university-level ROTC program and does require nor encourage students to enter the military, according to Anible.
The unit will celebrate its 50th anniversary at Camp Lazarus, 4422 Columbus Pike, from noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 28. Anible said he hopes to find former members by Aug. 17.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.