Why do you teach? Lt. Col. Richard Roller

roller demonstrates technique
LRHS JROTC instructor Lt. Col. Richard Roller demonstrates technique

“Mustangs Ahead” is asking teachers “Why do you teach?” This segment is about Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps teacher Lt. Col. Richard Roller.

I first got the idea of teaching while I was in the Army. One of my assignments in the Army was teaching Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at the undergraduate level at the University of Louisville. While I was there I realized the impact teachers had on the futures of their students; I also was exposed to JROTC though our inspection process and saw the value it presented to high school students.

Before getting into education I was a career Army officer. I served in various command and staff positions over a 20 year period. I was an Armor/Cavalry officer and led organizations with M1A1 tanks and reconnaissance units responsible for conducting security and surveillance operations. I finished my career as a Military Strategist with responsibilities that included developing international military engagement strategies for South and Central America and theater level plans including the Haitian Earthquake response. My final assignment before retirement was teaching graduate level leadership and strategy at the Army Management Staff Course (AMSC).

Including teaching assignments in the Army I have nine years of platform time. I taught Army leadership and Tactics at the University of Louisville, leadership and strategy at AMSC and have been teaching JROTC here at Lakewood for four years.
The good?  Simple, the impact and development of our next generation of Americans. It is really rewarding to see our students “get it” and take initiative to move themselves and the organization forward.

The bad?  Like any business or organization, bureaucracy. The red tape and demands from multiple supervising organizations make some of the administrative responsibilities for the JROTC program frustrating occasionally. The beauty of this frustration is there is usually someone in the various reporting chains we have to respond to that can help out in a pinch.

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