MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- For many future Marines, the thought of getting promoted before they even join the Corps is appealing. Recruiters offer all sorts of incentives if a poolee, a future recruit, can manage to get friends to join. But an often overlooked way for new recruits to get promoted is usually found too late in the game.
The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps was established in colleges in 1862 to provide to the different braches of the armed forces officers that more accurately reflected the values of society. In 1916, the Junior ROTC was established in high schools throughout the United States. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps each have their own JROTC program, which distributes funds to the high schools that have the program.
To get a promotion from any branch of service, future recruits must have successfully completed at least two years in JROTC.
This was the case for Lance Cpl. Dorian Reyes, a legal clerk with the Staff Judge Advocate’s office for the 2nd Marine Division.
“I took two years of Army (J)ROTC in high school,” he explained. “Seeing the recruiters on a regular basis made me seriously consider joining the military. So I stayed in for a second year.”
After those two years, Reyes’ interest peaked and the pursuit of a career in the Marine Corps seemed a viable option.
“I looked to the military and saw something I liked,” recalled the Chicago native. “I joined the Marine Corps, got a promotion and got into the field of legal services. I was doing what I wanted to do.”
After completing all his initial training, Reyes found himself deploying to Iraq for a year, an experience he said he would never forget.
“I didn’t just stay in camp the entire time,” he said. “I went out with some convoys and acted as security. It gave me a chance to see how the infantry operate on a daily basis.”
Reyes is looking forward to branching out into the civilian work force upon completion of his contract to operate as a paralegal. He sees his time in the Corps as a stepping stone to achieving his dream of one day practicing law.
“With my job, I’m able to be around professional attorneys on a regular basis,” he explained. “Their encouragement along with my job experience has inspired me to become a defense attorney.”
Reyes has no regrets about joining the Corps or being in JROTC while in high school. He looks fondly on his time spent in both organizations and realizes how much he has matured through them.
“I was always disciplined before the Corps, but the changes it has made in me are immeasurable,” he said. “People show me an immense amount of respect for being a Marine. They respect everything the Corps has done for me.”