Two WCPS AFJROTC Units Awarded Distinguished Unit Awards

Drill members with the John F. Kennedy High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps hold rifles during a routine Feb. 20 during the 2016 Pacific Air Partners Open House at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. In addition to their presentation, drill teams from Guam High School and Okkodo High School performed for the crowd during the open house. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Joshua Smoot/Released)

Two WCPS AFJROTC Units Awarded Distinguished Unit Awards

Two WCPS high schools were recently recognized by the United States Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) Headquarters for their outstanding programs over the course of the 2021-2022 school year. The Southern Wayne High School AFJROTC Unit (NC-023) and the Eastern Wayne High School AFJROTC Unit (NC-804) received the Headquarters highest honor eligible to be awarded during a non-inspection year of being named a Distinguished Unit.

Each unit was selected as one of only 298 units nation-wide to receive the Distinguished Unit Award for the 2021-2022 school year. There are currently 890 AFJROTC units across the United States, U.S. territories, and in DODD schools outside of the U.S.

The Distinguished Unit Award recognizes units that have performed well above and beyond normal expectations, and that have distinguished themselves through outstanding service to their school and community while meeting the Air Force JROTC citizen development mission for America.

In addition to meeting all fitness, training, program, and testing requirements, cadets completed hundreds of hours of community service.  

“MSgt Turner and I are extremely proud of our cadets,” states Lt Col (Ret.) Jesse Smith, EWH AFJROTC Instructor. “Returning cadets stepped up to the challenge, enforced/set the standard, and continued the great legacy established before them.”

Southern Wayne High unit experienced a decrease in its program participation this year, which was attributed by instructors as to stymied outreach efforts during the previous year’s COVID restrictions. Instructors say despite the decline in the unit’s size, this year’s cadets banded together and performed strongly across its program areas.

“We operated this past year at a 60% reduction in the number of cadets in our program,” states Col George W. Schantz, Jr., USAF (Ret), SWH AFJROTC Instructor. “Given this reduction, cadets’ accomplishments are that much more significant in meeting the qualifications for this award. My hat is off to them and their significant efforts.”