Zheyla Jimenez Vasquez
In ROTC, it is expected of all of us to wear our uniforms once a week. My freshman year was a tough year with all the drastic changes, and on top of that I had to wear a uniform. It became very overwhelming, but I somehow came to manage it and now in my sophomore year I am not bothered by the uniform, I’m actually starting to enjoy wearing it. All the McMahon Senators in NJROTC have or have had an opinion on this matter. I went and interviewed two of our NJROTC Senators and asked them their views and opinions of the uniforms we are supposed to wear.
Kevin Jimenez Vasquez is a freshman at McMahon. Along with ROTC, he plays on the soccer team. This routine is all new to him, unlike for the upperclassmen, So I decided to ask for his input on the matter, “I feel like it's not so necessary or like I think that wearing it just for the ROTC class is enough not the whole day. I feel good wearing it, I don't have a problem with wearing it.” Vasquez also offered a suggestion to those in superior positions, “I would change having to wear the uniform the whole day and just have us wear it for a class.”
Then I asked Senior Nicole Perez, the CO of the unit; the highest authority position, her opinion on the attire, “At first I wasn't very happy about wearing the uniform but now I like it a lot because I'm more decorated and it makes me feel more confident. I know a couple freshman/NS1s that hate the uniform but there are a handful that were excited they received their uniforms. Some seniors still don't accept it. But the majority of us do. We like it because we can be very competitive and it's fun being able to compare uniforms seeing who has earned what. We also can accept it because some of us want to go into the military and being able to wear the uniforms makes us understand the importance of it and what we stand for." Perez then shared her first impressions of the program and doubts she had early on. Nevertheless, she's grateful for the connections she's made throughout her training, "My freshman year was interesting. I thought I would hate ROTC and I’m not sure what happened but as soon as I walked into the classroom on the first day of school, I was surprised that I actually liked the class. Quickly I became more involved with the community service events and made some lifelong friendships.” Perez is in favor of this tradition, so much so she has expressed interest in the uniforms to be offered in other patterns. Interests made her recognize the significance behind the attire, and keeps her motivated to pursue a future in the military. She voices her desire for more participation within the underclassmen, “I would love to get new uniforms like camouflage ones or the dress whites. As for improvements in the unit I want to find a way to get the freshmen more involved. I want to train my cadets so that they can learn to lead the unit once us seniors leave to me that's the most important thing at the moment’’.