THS Junior ROTC adding survival skills to curriculum

Published 11:49 am Monday, June 11, 2018

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

Beginning in the fall, students in Thompson High School’s Leadership Academy/Junior ROTC will have a chance to learn basic skills necessary to survive in an emergency situation, the course’s instructors recently announced.

Students in the Leadership Academy will learn the “skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to successfully perform fundamental tasks needed for survival,” according to Junior ROTC instructors Chief Master Sgt. Chris Spann and Lt. Col. Douglas Crabb.

The goal of the Leadership Academy (AFJROTC) at THS is to develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community.

“While the new course material centers on how to survive in an emergency event, the lessons learned can also be used to overcome and succeed in many different life situations,” Crabb said.

The new Leadership Academy material focuses on learning, and applying, basic survival ideas based on the S.U.R.V.I.V.A.L. framework, which stands for the following:


S – Size up the situation

U – Use all your senses

R – Remember where you are

V – Vanquish fear and panic

I – Improvise

V – Value living

A – Act only after thinking

L – Live by your wits, learn basic skills


“Throughout the course, cadets will learn and practice basic survival skills,” Spann said. “The lessons learned and skills gained by cadets will help boost their self-confidence and reduce their fear of the unknown. Thus, giving them a foundation to build successful lives upon.”

The new course material is being made possible with the addition of Spann to the Leadership Academy staff at THS. Spann is a 25-year veteran of the United States Air Force, where he served as a tactical air control party member. During his service, he spent many months deployed with various Special Forces units to locations in Afghanistan and Iraq. During these deployments, Chief Spann learned and applied many of the survival skills he will be teaching cadets.

We are very fortunate to have Chief Spann on our staff,” Crabb said. “His unique skillset and vast amount of experience are invaluable resources that will help our cadets learn this exciting material while keeping them focused and interested.

“This new material dovetails nicely with all our other curriculum that is designed to help cadets learn life lessons and leadership skills that will help them succeed in all facets of life long after high school,” Crabb added.

The Leadership Academy at THS is open to all students in ninth-12th grades.  It is intended to allow students to grasp important life lessons while feeling a sense of accomplishment, belonging and pride that comes with teamwork and success. While structured around the Air Force JROTC program, the Leadership Academy works to teach important skills and reinforce personal traits that will help make students successful in life no matter what career they choose to follow after high school.

Crabb and Spann said if a student takes AFJROTC in high school, there is never any obligation for them to join the military after high school.

To learn more about the survival course or the Leadership Academy/AFJROTC at THS contact Lt Col Douglas Crabb at or 685-6767 or Chief Christopher Spann at or 205-685-6766.