Cadets receive awards

Chloe McAleer, Reporter

Early morning on Nov. 29, AFJROTC cadets made their way to the south gym organizing themselves into formation with the rest of their squadrons. After the cadets fell in, the AFJROTC Regional Inspector examined every cadet. Following the inspection, the corps was graded as “exceeded standards;” the highest grade a corps can receive during an inspection. 

According to senior Madison Powell, the corps was nominated for the Distinguished Unit with Merit Award. If the corps receives this award, it will be the first time in 41 years.

Powell said this award could hopefully promote more student involvement in the corps and increase numbers.

Sophomore Chloe Grabenbauer said the corps’s size was one of the biggest issues that arose during inspection.

“They said the only thing that didn’t necessarily meet standards was our numbers, because we’re supposed to have a minimum of 100 cadets, we only have 90,” Grabenbauer said.

Though their numbers were met with discrepancy, Powell said the inspector was willing to disregard it.

“Because we are doing so great as a corps, and the way that we run things, how cadets are constantly involved, how organized and kept up to date with things we are, our inspector was like, ‘we can just overlook it, because I know that COVID hit you guys hard,’” Powell said. 

Cadets were also awarded individually with the Top Performer Award which is only handed out to 2% of cadets in any given corps. Senior Claire Denton and Powell received the Top Performer Award. 

The inspector also gave junior Elijah Chant his wings, meaning he had spent 13 hours flying and completed an FAA flight training course. Chant was the only cadet to receive his wings within the corps this year.

Along with the numerous awards, the corps also donated $2500 to the First Sergeants Council. 

According to Powell, the First Sergeants Council helps provide for military members in-need, whether that be buying a plane ticket to help an airman see his family or by providing service members’ families with Christmas presents.

Furthermore, Powell said she was glad that the money was donated during the inspection as it shows cadets that AFJROTC is more than just a class.

“That was really great to show off in front of all of the cadets, because it shows that we aren’t just a military based prep class, it also shows that we just want to prepare people for the future,” Powell said.

Moreover, Grabenbauer said that the inspection went well in her opinion especially after weeks of preparation. 

According to Grabenbauer, the corps had been practicing days in advance; first having Group Staff come in on Thursday and Friday the week before; then having the entire corps practice falling into formation the Monday before inspection.

“That was a little rough because it’s a big group of people,” Grabenbauer said. “So you have to make sure that everyone is on the same page and knows exactly what they’re doing, and what they can and can’t do.”

Altogether, Powell said she felt that the inspection was successful, and that the inspector was impressed after seeing how much of the corps was cadet run.

“It’s really great how we have students who are conducting our finances for the core, and students who are taking into account things like clothing items,” Powell said. “Those are menial tasks that the adults should take care of, but cadets get a chance to experience what it’s like to take on that adult role.”