Joplin JROTC 100th Anniversary

Mary Thomason



The U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) is a program that focuses on the youth-oriented mission, “Motivating Young People to be Better Citizens” with a myriad of teaching goals focused on leadership, teamwork, character education, personal responsibility, and a service to the nation.


The Joplin High School JROTC program is among the oldest in the nation, some say the oldest continuous program in existence.


In 1916, Congress passed the National Defense Act authorizing the JROTC program. On January 28, 1917, Ft. Leavenworth converted its long-standing (1897) high school military program into the first JROTC program in the nation. Shortly after, due to the War, Ft. Leavenworth shuttered the program until late 1919.


On November 28, 1918, the Army formally established the Joplin JROTC program, according to one unverified record at the US Army Cadet Command. Joplin School Board records from March 27, 1919 state the Army formally approved Joplin JROTC program. In an effort to be as accurate as possible, the Joplin program instructors are using the verified record of March 27th as the anniversary date.


Regardless of which date on which you choose, the Joplin program has affected thousands of families and countless members of the community over the 100 years of its existence. The Joplin JROTC program offers cadets an opportunity to learn skills valuable for a lifetime. Cadets serve on Colorguard, Saber Team and participate in drill competitions throughout the school year.


To honor this momentous occasion the Joplin cadets are celebrating with a day full of events at the Joplin High School on March 30th beginning with a military parade at 10:00 am, a program open house at 12:00 pm, a formal catered banquet at 6:00 pm with the annual Cadet Military Ball following.


The Joplin JROTC cadets and alumni urge the Southwest Missouri community to share in the historic anniversary. The parade and open house are free events designed to inform and encourage support for the JROTC program. The banquet is a ticketed event open to the public with all proceeds directly benefiting the continuation of the program.


Many local, state and national officials have recognized the significance of the anniversary. State Representative Chuck Basye, Chair of the House Veterans Committee, 7th in command of the US Army, Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel Daily, and Congressman Lane Roberts are just some expected to be in attendance. State Senator Bill White, Chair of the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, plans to present a resolution before the state Senate marking the milestone for the Joplin program.


For the Joplin High School JROTC and the surrounding communities March 30th will mark an event historic for the nation. Quite possibly the oldest continuous JROTC program in the United States will celebrate 100 years of service to the students and citizens of Southwest Missouri.


Additional information about the Joplin JROTC program and the festivities on March 30th may be found online by visiting the Joplin High School JROTC Facebook page at Tickets on for the banquet may be purchased through searching Joplin JROTC.