The Arnold Air Society-Bernard F. Fisher Squadron from BYU AFROTC hosted their first Junior Utah Military Basic Operations Competition (JUMBO) Saturday, May 9. The event was a success with almost 200 JROTC members and families from Utah who attended.
These participants came from Dixie, Northridge and Provo High Schools, as well as the Utah Military Academy.
Utah Military Academy took first place and won the JUMBO trophy and title.
“The competition was close; most teams were only ahead or behind by half a point,” BYU Cadet Mitch Riley said. “Utah Military Academy took the lead in the group leadership and solving portion of the competition.”
BYU AFROTC Cadets Mitchell Riley, Morgan Curriden and Aaron Oborn helped create this JUMBO event back in October with the advisement of Major Mark Slik.
“We wanted to help support current JROTC programs in Utah,” Riley said. “We also hoped this event would create awareness and interest in creating more local JROTC programs.”
Riley explained that they actually came up with the JUMBO acronym first and gave each letter a meaning after.
“This JUMBO event has been our baby,” Riley said. “We, along with AFROTC members, have spent months in roles like strategic planning, operations and tactics just as you would see in military operations.”
Currently there are only five JROTC programs, and often students have to travel to schools outside of their district to participate. For example, Alpine School District doesn’t currently have a JROTC program. The JUMBO event also helped unify these five programs.
“This JUMBO event allowed JROTC to work together in teams in activities such as sporting events, leadership and drills,” Riley said. “We even created rules like no jumping during frisbee.”
Riley described these rules as challenges from traditional ways these activities are played. They feel this shows students discipline when implications and perimeters are given to accomplish a task in a nontraditional way.
“Not only is this event about competing,” Curriden said. “But JROTC is truly about team work and creating better citizens even if these students don’t join the military.”
“I think the JROTC also took away camaraderie,” Oborn said. “And it increased their sense of teamwork.”
After this event the JROTC had a lot students and parents interested about continuing to pursue ROTC at BYU in the future.
“We understand not every student will go into the ROTC,” Riley said. “But we know that they will leave the JROTC program with a respect for the military and this country we live in.”
Not only was this a learning experience for the JROTC members but for the cadets as well.
“Sometimes us cadets at our detachment spend a lot of time concentrating on our careers and futures, which is fine. It’s why we’re in ROTC,” Curriden said. “However, I think the scale of this event opened the eyes of members of our detachment as they saw the impact we have on JROTC members.”
This event also helped the ROTC learn skills for event planning.
“An event this size requires a lot of planning,” Oborn said. “There are lots of moving parts and different opinions to work with.”
The JUMBO competition is not only a place for students to compete, but it also allows BYU ROTC to network with future members.
“We had a lot more family members come than anticipated,” Riley said. “It’s great, because ROTC is a lifestyle and family support means everything. BYU ROTC has enriched my college experience. I would love the youth to get the experience both in JROTC and in BYU ROTC.”
The unit commanders of the JROTC, as well as the students and families, enjoyed the event and gave BYU ROTC useful feedback.
“We already have the JUMBO competition on the calendar for next year,” Riley said. “And we can only hope to continue this tradition and see more JROTC programs created in Utah.”
Curriden agreed. “We’re looking at a 10-year plan of inviting Army, Navy and Marine JROTCs in future years,” he said. “We are hoping this will greatly improve the relationship between our BYU ROTC Detachment 885 and JROTC cadets from all over Utah.”