BY BRUCE BRANUM
The Greenville Standard
The JROTC program in Butler County continues to see improvement under the leadership of Col. Alan Hester.
The number of cadets entering the program has been growing and Hester believes the JROTC program has shown improvement in motivation and work ethic. He stated that JROTC had done more community related projects this year than since the four years he has overseen the JROTC program.
Included in the projects are organizing the Veterans Day program, Senior Roundup, and partnering with Georgiana Police Chief Carlton Cook in supporting an anti-drug initiative program and supporting the Georgiana youth fishing day.
This year, JROTC fielded, for the first time, an archery club that cadets raised all the funds needed to start the program and Hester hopes to transfer the club into a full fledge archery team next year.
Hester said, “We continue to make improvements with all of our teams. Our Color Guard won various trophies at various competitions. Our Armed Drill Team won two second place trophies and our Unarmed Drill Team won first place at the Pell City Invitational as well as winning other second and third place trophies.”
On Tuesday, May 7, the JROTC held their annual awards program. Many awards were given to individual cadets and teams. Included in the program was the Change of Command ceremony.
Outgoing Commander C/LTC Tony McConnico Jr. transferred command of the battalion to Incoming Commander C/MAJ Esron Satterwhite.
McConnico is the son of Carrie Womack and served as Battalion Commander with great distinction, according to Hester. He served as Delta’s Company Commander as a junior and won best drill company during the JPA inspection that year. He also served on numerous teams, including drill, rifle, and Color Guard. His plans are to pursue a career in the United States Air Force.
Satterwhite is the son of Linda Satterwhite. He served as Bravo’s Company Commander for 2018-2019. Satterwhite serves as the Rifle Team and Drill Team Captain and is on the Color Guard, Academic Team, and Archery Team. He has attended summer camps at JCLC McClellan and JCLC Huntsville. His plans are to pursue a career in the United States military.
Congress established the JROTC program with the National Defense Act of 1946, requiring each military service to operate JROTC units. JROTC works closely with Senior ROTC programs and all branches of the military. Butler County’s JROTC program is supplied by the U. S. Army.
The guest speaker at the annual awards program was LTC Paul Carlock, Professor of Military Science at Auburn University-Montgomery/Troy University.
Receiving awards for Superior Cadet were C/CPL Artaysia Adams, C/SFC Ti’Ajah Watkins, C/CPT Levion Williams, and C/MAJ Jonathan Wills.
C/1SG Brianca Alcena received the Distinquished Cadet Award for Scholastic Excellence.
Georgiana Police Chief Carlton Cook presented Georgiana School JROTC members with participation awards and C/1LT Kahari Rue with Chief Carlton Cook NCO Leadership Award.
The JROTC had 112 cadets in Tiger Battalion this year. Seventeen of those graduated with at least three years of JROTC and received a College Ready Credential. The credential allows the cadets to enter the military at an advanced rank if they decide to pursue a military career.
Cadets entering the military include: Jonathan Wills and Ross Hester (US Marine Corps), Tony McConnico (Air Force), and Ashton Burgins and Payton Thomas (Alabama National Guard). Thomas was accepted into Marion Military Institute and will begin studies after graduation from Basic Training with an ultimate goal of commission as an officer in the US Army.
Hester said, “We had another great year in JROTC in 2018-2019. Highlights included developing an archery program for JROTC and sending large groups of cadets to two different week-long summer camps in June 2018. These were JCLC-Huntsville at the Space and Rocket Center and LeaderState on the premises of Mississippi State University.
“We are reaching out to current 8th graders so that we can motivate another group of about 40 freshmen to join our program in August 2019. A program with about 120 eager and motivated cadets is the target.”
Hester stated that for the second year in a row JROTC is offering a summer New Cadet Orientation Camp to those students in joining for next year. The returning cadets will serve as camp counselors and instruct the cadet candidates in first aid, drill, rifle marksmanship, archery, patrolling, physical training and more.
The camp is set for July 1-3 and is offered at no cost to students. Registration forms are available by contacting Col. Alan Hester at 334-210-1702 or firstname.lastname@example.org.