JROTC took its first step into the 2013-14 school year last Wednesday with a ceremonial “change of command.”
The group met Sept. 11 to officially change its commanding officer following former Battalion Commander Cadet Chance Hogan’s graduation in the spring.
“Last year’s leadership went out the door and this new one came in,” Lt. Col. Kenneth Abrams said.
His successor is Cadet Lt. Col. Walker Longworth, a senior at Elkin High School.
The entire school was welcomed to the ceremony, which took place in the gym. Several hundred people were present as JROTC filed in and assembled in formations.
His parents were both present for the event as well.
The nation’s colors were brought in and presented while the National Anthem was played.
The reason for the change of command was then read to the audience, along with Longworth’s promotion orders.
Longworth was then read his assumption of command orders, in which he was instructed of his duties and role as the commanding JROTC officer.
The unit colors were given to Principal Joel Hoyle, who then passed them to Longworth, and then back to the color bearers as a visible presentation of the transfer of command.
Longworth was hand picked by the top brass for various qualities they felt were important.
“We get these guys when they’re freshmen,” Abrams said. “From the day they are freshmen we look at how much they grow in our program.”
Academics are priority number one in the program. While a leader may not be the top of his class, Abrams said the student’s improvement over the course of his three years play significantly into the selection process for a cadet commander.
The time a cadet puts into the program is also important. A leader has to be vested in the program to be successful, meaning time must be spent during the week and on the weekends with different activities.
A variety of other club experiences and no disciplinary problems are additional things the instructors look for.
“He’s responsible for everything that happens in ROTC, believe it or not,” Abrams said. “If it goes wrong it’s his fault. If it goes right it’s his doing.”
The JROTC is ran similarly to the United States military, Abrams said. Every unit in the military has to have a commander - the same with the JROTC.
“A leader is there to provide leadership, instructions, enforce rules and things of that nature,” Abrams said.
Longworth will be the head of the program until next year, when the ceremony will be held again and the command transferred to the next cadet.
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