Capt. Al Schuette, U.S. Navy retired, serves as the senior instructor for the Lee County High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.
ALBANY — Loud and clear: The Lee County Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps does not recruit for the armed forces.
“I emphasize we are not a recruiter,” said the program’s senior instructor, Capt. Al Schuette, U.S. Navy retired. “Our goals are to teach discipline in high school to the kids. We teach responsibility, self-discipline and the responsibility that goes with it.”
Schuette spoke Friday to the Exchange Club of Albany and found an appreciative audience. Carl Gluckert introduced Schuette by saying he tried to have him speak on Veterans Day, but the schedule didn’t permit.
“I wanted him then. I asked, but it didn’t work out,” Gluckert said. “So he is here on Pearl Harbor Day. So that is good.”
After paying honor to the day, Schuette explained the school program and pointed to the future. The more than 160 students in the Lee County NJROTC bode well for the future of the country, he said.
“It is truly wonderful to see them go to college, join the military and get a job,” Schuette said. “It is wonderful to see them grow in their responsibilities, to become good citizens.”
One or two of his students score high enough on exams to get scholarships to college military programs, Schuette said. About 25 percent join one of the service branches.
The training students receive in NJROTC gives them an advantage over someone entering the service without the background and training they have, Schuette said. Sometimes it amounts to a heftier paycheck after boot camp, he added.
Exchangite Pete Peters asked if the students get any instruction in American history. Schuette assured the Exchangites the students had a grounding in history.
According to the website njrotc.navy, nationally the program:
— Promotes patriotism
— Develops informed and responsible citizens
— Develops respect for authority
— Develops leadership potential
— Promotes high school completion
— Promotes higher education
— Promotes community service
— Develops a high degree of personal honor, self-reliance, individual discipline and leadership
— Promotes an understanding of the basic elements and need for national security
— Provides information on the military services as a possible career
— Provides an alternative to gangs
n Provides incentive to live healthy and drug free.