JROTC Opens Doors For Hartle

The Cadet Sergeant Major is the second in command of Cougar Battalion


Senior Tommy Hartle joined JROTC spontaneously. After joining the program, he built character, gained knowledge and made lifelong friends. JROTC not only prepares young people to join the military, but can also help them create friendships and make memories.

Hartle, as Cadet Command Sergeant Major, is the second highest ranking cadet this year.   

Many students are unsure of what life might look like after high school, but Hartle has a plan. 

Hartle’s goal is to attend Wake Tech and get his associates degree. He describes how JROTC has helped to pave the way for him. 

“JROTC has helped me build social and leadership skills through interacting with other people such as the cadets that join every year, and it’s also given me opportunities for scholarships,” Hartle said. 

While JROTC is all about learning and preparing for your future, it is equally about camaraderie. Hartle shares one of his favorite memories.

“The dodgeball tournament that was a year or two ago, and we got first place. It was pretty cool,“ Hartle said. 

Getting along with others is crucial when you are in a program like JROTC.

Hartle believes the most important trait he learned is the value of teamwork.

While he enjoyed his time in JROTC, it is questionable to Hartle whether he will join the military or not. 

“I was definitely thinking about it. Probably not. If I were to, it would either be the National Guard or the Air Force,” Hartle said. 

Hartle misses many of the Cadet Sergeant Majors of the Program that have graduated. One, in particular, stood out.  

“Lia Stokes, she was really good. She meant business but could also have fun here and there,” Hartlel said.

Hartle’s advice for future JROTC members is to stick with it.

The Cadets all serve different purposes to further the JROTC’s success.  

Hartle’s job as a cadet is to plan the fitness, make sure all the sergeants are doing their job and also making sure all of the rules are being enforced.

When it came time to consider taking JROTC, Hartle says that it was a “why not” choice. This turned out to be a great decision for him.

“It’s stressful, but manageable as well. I love it overall. It’s definitely fun,” Hartle said. 

It takes a lot of character, patience and perseverance to be a part of the JROTC. Students have to be strong, willing and proud to be a part of the JROTC program.

Hartle describes how his time in the program has strengthened him as a person. 

“My leadership and communication skills and my ability to be able to speak in front of an audience has gotten a lot better too,” Hartle said. 

It is not uncommon to emerge from high school different from when you entered. In four years, a lot can change.  

“I am a lot more mature compared to freshman year.  I’ve definitely changed. Especially the way I walk, the way I dress and eat.  Everything has changed,” Hartle said. 

As our JROTC seniors face graduation in June, they will try to leave something behind. 

Hartle has hopes for the program once he is graduated. 

“I hope that we can pass it on to better leaders. Hopefully, keep it well for them, and that the program prospers beyond what I can see,” said Hartle. 

While JROTC is an enjoyable program, it also has its hardships. 

Hartle  overcame many obstacles throughout his time in JROTC. 

“There’s actually one coming up pretty soon. We have to do a progress check thing where the leaders tell us if we’re good enough or not,  and it’s not looking too great this year, but we’re trying to get past it,” Hartle said. “That’s probably the strongest problem right now, that’s a struggle.”