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VHS NJROTC celebrates numerous achievements including 10th Distinguished Unit distinction

MAJ. STEPHEN BICKFORD • May 7, 2018 at 9:30 PM

CHURCH HILL — Volunteer High School NJROTC recently received notice that they have achieved the coveted distinction of being named a Distinguished Unit for the 10th consecutive year, and a Distinguished Unit with Academic Honors for the sixth consecutive year.

Volunteer High School cadets have provided more than 2,000 hours of community service and an additional 1,000 hours of school service during this school year.

They marched in local parades, worked both Bristol NASCAR races and participated in Hawkins County Veteran’s Day celebration.

All of this while hosting one orienteering meet, three rifle matches, a drill meet, a fitness competition, a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) competition and four academic competitions.

The cadets competed in more than 40 competitions for various activities: drill, color guard, academics, athletics, orienteering and rifle marksmanship.

The marksmanship team ranked fifth among nearly 700 NJROTC units worldwide and took first place in the nation at the US Army National Match.

Additionally, the cadets conducted two overnight and 10 day trips to visit bases and colleges around the region and nationwide.

Cadets stayed busy throughout the year with nearly half participating in summer activities, but all this activity does not distract from their academic success, with 30 percent of them making the honor roll during the first semester.

The 14 graduating NJROTC seniors have been awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships plus much more in grants.

Volunteer High School Navy JROTC cadets realize that these achievements are not possible without the support of their families, their teachers, the school administration and their community.

The cadets extend a heartfelt thank you to all of those who helped make their achievements possible.

NJROTC held its annual Awards Night Thursday to recognize the various accomplishments of the cadets.

Around 200 NJROTC academic and program awards were presented to the 64 cadets and 38 awards were presented by veterans groups and community organizations.

Cadets came to the stage to be recognized for the highest NJROTC awards and for the community and veterans organization awards.

Honor Cadet and Distinguished Cadet: freshman, Abigail Rider; sophomore, Nicole Carvagno; junior, Catherine Webb; senior, Breeaunna Beavers.

Five cadets were recognized for making a commitment to serve in the armed forces with a cord to wear at graduation. Mattea Anderson enlisted in the US Navy Reserve, April Blanton enlisted in the US Army Reserve, Cheyenne Miller enlisted in the US Army Reserve, Christopher Spitzer enlisted in the US Navy and Caitlyn Webb enlisted in the US Army Reserve.

Local organizations which presented awards include: American Legion Post 21, AmVets, Daughters of 1812, Daughters of the American Revolution, Scottish Rite, National Sojourners, Association of the US Army, Retired Enlisted Association, Reserve Officers Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Korean War Veterans, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Military Order of World Wars, Marine Corps League Det 969, Scottish American Military, Vietnam Veterans of America, Military Officers Association of America, Sons of American Revolution, US Army Reserve and Tennessee National Guard.

Cadet Austin West was recognized as the Cadet of the Year by Virginia Tech Navy ROTC and Cadet Breeaunna Beavers received the Ladley Family Naval Aviation Award.

The 2018-2019 senior leaders were installed by passing the shoulder cord of the office and promoting the incoming leaders:

Cadet commanding officer: Cadet Commander Christopher Spitzer promoted and installed Cadet Commander Aaron Keith.

Executive officer: Cadet Lieutenant Austin West promoted and installed Cadet Lieutenant Levi Trent.

Command master chief: Cadet Master Chief Petty Officer Gavyn Gilliam promoted and installed Cadet Master Chief Petty Officer Jaden-Ann Fraser.

The graduating seniors received plaques and were “rung ashore” in a traditional naval ceremony, announcing their formal departure from the unit.

Story by Steven D. Bickford, Major USMC (ret), Senior Naval Science Instructor

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