Morgan ROTC earns top rating from US Air Force rep
By Emily Patrick
The Morgan County High School Air Force Junior ROTC (AFJROTC) received an “exceeds standards” rating from a representative of the US Air Force after successfully completing their triennial unit inspection.
The visiting officer evaluated the corps based on performance and clerical factors.
The senior cadets delivered a briefing on the mission and goals of their program. Academically, the cadets hope to achieve an 85 percent passing rate for all corps classes. They also explained their ideas for community service projects.
The second-year cadets were required to march a 30-step sequence for the visiting officer, a task that required cooperation and team work from the group.
Major Robert Atkins, who instructs the AFJROTC at MCHS along with Chief Master Sergeant R. Nash Allwine, said that the inspection challenges cadets and helps them learn new skills.
“The cadets learn how to prepare and do things right, and yeah, they get stressed out. And there's some team building that goes on that we help them with and management, and that's what they're learning. It's all part of the program,” he said.
The inspector also took an inventory of the corps' equipment and surveyed the inspectors' teaching.
“They inventory all the computers, uniforms, weapons—we have facsimile weapons that we use for color guard and drill,” Atkins said.
The corps elected two seniors to serve as logistics officers to organize the equipment before the inspector's visit. Atkins said these cadets have one of the most difficult jobs in the entire process of preparing for the evaluation.
“We have to go through the uniform room, and we have to inventory everything like 12 times just to make sure we have the right count. We have to make sure it's cleaned up so they can find it,” he said.
The AFJROTC program is designed to teach citizenship to students.
Last year, 4 out of 10 seniors who graduated from the program entered the military, but the corps is not a recruiting program. Rather, it equips students with skills that will serve them whether they become civilians or military personnel.
“It's and air force sponsored program, so a lot of the curriculum has to do with the history of the air force and space and rockets and air flight,” Atkins said. “But everything else they learn, a common citizen needs to know. We teach them some very basic stuff like how to balance a checkbook, how to shop.”
The MCHS corps currently includes 99 students and has a record of excellence.
After their unit inspection three years ago in 2009, the corps also received an exceeds standards rating.
The next inspection will take place in 2015 when this year's freshmen cadets are seniors. Atkins said the corps tried to involve the youngest members in preparing for the evaluation so that they will be able to lead the process when they are seniors.
“It was a lot of hard work, but the cadets did it. They did a great job. It was stressful, but they did it, so we're done for another 3 years,” he said.
Printed in the May 3rd, 2012 edition.