AF JROTC Program starts year strong

By CADET MAJOR TAYLOR DICICCO / Guest Columnist

Thompson High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC has high hopes to succeed in a number of goals this school year. From community service to learning leadership skills, the cadets and staff members have been preparing and working to accomplish these goals.

This month, the staff members, other experienced cadets and the instructors have guided the freshmen in becoming great leaders and citizens in their community. Freshman cadets are being taught the basic run of the program, leadership skills, how to wear the uniform properly, the normal week schedule and any other necessary information.

Members of Thompson High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC participate in the 2016 Alabaster Christmas Parade. (Contributed/Alex Jovel)

The six teams that AF JROTC offers are Marksmanship, Physical Fitness, Drill, Color Guard, Model Aircraft and Model Rocketry. The members on these teams have been practicing diligently in order to prepare for upcoming competitions, with the exception of Marksmanship Team. Three training sessions have taken place, in which the marksmanship instructor runs through safety procedures, basic components of marksmanship and how often the team practices. The cadets will soon be separated into different teams to start learning precision shooting.

Community service is a key component in the program; the cadets are actively looking for volunteer opportunities. So far, members of the Color Guard present the colors at each varsity football game, and members of the Physical Fitness Team run out onto the sideline and do however many pushups there are on the score board every time Thompson scores. Not only that, but cadets have been involved in the school’s effort to donate funds for the hurricane relief. At the varsity football game two weeks ago, cadets solicited donations and accumulated $583. In addition, cadets voted to donate the $1,000 they had raised for their upcoming Military Ball.

The program has scheduled the following community service events: Marching in the Homecoming Parade on Wednesday, Sept. 27; participating in presenting the colors/pushups at the Homecoming game on Sept. 29; helping unload thousands of pumpkins at the First Presbyterian Church of Alabaster on Oct. 1; and hosting the annual open to the public Veteran’s Day Ceremony at Thompson High School on Nov. 9.