JROTC instructor

Lt. Col. John Espinosa

Lt. Col. John Espinosa served around the world with the U.S. Army. He now inspires students at Harding as its JROTC instructor.

JROTC instructor and student

Lt. Col. Espinosa, a Washington, D.C. native, became the first member of his family to graduate from college

Lt. Col. Espinosa served in Germany and Italy, took part in peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Kosovo, and combat missions in Iraq. He served as a senior ROTC instructor at the University of Portland before retiring.when he graduated from Florida International University with a degree in criminal justice. He entered the military as a second lieutenant in the Army.

He credits his own experience in ROTC with inspiring him to become an officer in the military, saying he learned about leadership and teamwork as well as public speaking. He is hopeful to see students consider the military as an option for their future and to gain confidence whether or not they join the military.

“What I want them to understand is they can be productive citizens in their community,” he said, stressing concepts like volunteerism.

His goal is to encourage students to understand the importance of graduating high school for a successful future and teach them about college and other advanced educational and employment opportunities.