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MHS AFJROTC Awarded Global Distinguished Unit Award

MHS AFJROTC Earns Global Distinguished Unit Award

Patience – Fortitude – Resolute – Growth – Achievement

Those are the words best describing the last six years of Monroe’s AFJROTC journey.

In August of 2012, Dr. Brad Breedlove, Principal Monroe High, hired two new faces to revive and rebuild a crippled AFJROTC program in danger of closure. Major Forrest Jackson (Senior Aerospace Science Instructor) and Master Sergeant (MSgt) Andre Williams (Aerospace Science Instructor) both joined the Redhawk team and went to work immediately. As the fall semester began approximately 25 students registered for the AFJROTC elective and the spring semester didn’t yield much more by adding only 35.  The minimum requirement to sustain an AFJROTC unit to meet viability requirement is 100 students enrolled per year - a long way to go from 60.  Maj Jackson set into motion his “five-year plan” to increase awareness, dispel the negative image, grow in numbers, but more importantly, develop the program into an outstanding and award winning unit.

The greatest hurdle of any failing program is encouraging and instilling the individual student to believe in and buy-in to a program that, on the outside, looks uninviting. Recruiting events, after school events, extra- and co-curricular activities, curriculum-in-action field trips, and simply having fun was the initial push from the Jackson / Williams duo. By the end of SY 14/15 the program achieved filling 115 seats, and for the first time in over 5 years the unit had met the 100 cadet requirement. The summer of 2015 resulted in a family move and MSgt Williams headed off to Texas to start up a new AFJROTC program. In comes MSgt John Davis, charging hell with water pistols in an attempt to now stabilize and “grow” the program far beyond the numbers. In doing so Davis jump-started many new co- and extra-curricular programs to keep students engaged both in and out of the classroom. Programs like RAIDER Team, Orienteering Team, and STEM teams like Stellar X-plorer, Cyber Patriot, and Model Rocketry all resulted in a diverse and engaged group of students. As a result, SY 15/16 and SY 16/17 continued to see an increase in numbers to over 140 students enrolled in the AFJROTC program.  The classroom ran out of seats – a great problem to have! Then, another move! Summer 2017 transitions MSgt Davis to take over the AFJROTC program in Asheboro and in comes Chief Master Sergeant Ineal Knowlton to the Redhawk family. Chief Knowlton immediately focused on the increased awareness and importance of student roles and responsibilities within the program - no longer is fun the number one priority, rather, leadership growth and development became the focus of the year.

As a result of patience, fortitude and growth, on 30 April 2018, Headquarters Air Force JROTC announced that Monroe High, NC-931 AFJROTC, earned its first ever Distinguished Unit Award. The Distinguished Unit Awards recognize the personal growth and accomplishments of the cadets, contributions of the instructors as mentors, and the support of the school and local community. The Air Force supports 890 AFJROTC units located across the nation and overseas to include Japan, S. Korea, Germany, England, Belgium, Italy and Guam, Hawaii & Alaska. NC-931 is one of 276 AFJROTC units globally who earned this distinction.

Congratulations Monroe High AFJROTC and keep up the great work.