Cove High JROTC ranks in top 5% of regional programs
Sweat beaded up on the brow of Cadet Colonel Elmo Bailey. He gripped his sweaty palms together as he responded to questions from inspectors who would deny or approve accreditation for the Copperas Cove High School JROTC Program.
Fifth Bridge Inspectors Joe Schatone and Johnee Carr interviewed cadets during program’s the triennial JROTC Program for Accreditation inspection. Cadets were required to brief the brigade team on the battalion breakdown and two major battalion projects including the Service-Learning Project and the annual Continuous Improvement project.
Since 2005, the Army JROTC program has been accredited by a national accrediting agency. In 2012, JROTC organized a team of brigade chiefs, brigade staff, Directors of Army Instruction, instructors and academia to provide a holistic review of cadets’ and instructors’ performances with emphasis on continuous improvement.
The battalion’s Continuous Improvement Program is student-directed and student-driven to teach fellow cadets alternative life skills such as learning to manage money, STEM lessons, cooking classes, and minor auto maintenance to better prepare cadets for life after high school.
Cadet Charlie Company First Sergeant Grace Taylor said the goal of the lessons is to properly educate cadets on how everyday life after high school can challenge them and how they will be able to overcome these tribulations.
“The lessons included learning the simple steps to make a delicious breakfast, money management and small auto care including taking steps to maintain your vehicles,” Taylor said. “Each cadet has been taught these lessons to ensure furthering their success after their four years of working towards graduation. Not only will they be able to say they can do all these important tasks, but they will be the people to go to when others need to be educated. That is the true goal of these lessons, making sure they know enough to share these skills with others in need.”
Through Service Learning, cadets shared their implementation of Operation: Duty Calls to Deck the Halls, where the cadets decorated III Corps Headquarters, 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters and Carl R. Darnell Army Hospital for the holiday season.
The Bulldog Battalion scored a 96.25 out of 100 point earning the Honor Unit with Distinction designation. The nearly perfect score places the high school battalion in the top five percent of
all JROTC Programs within 5th Brigade which includes the nine states of Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona and Colorado.
The battalion is under the leadership of Chief Warrant Officer III (retired) Enrique Herrera who has served in the position for more than 20 years.
“I could not be prouder of these cadets and the hard work they have contributed—not just for the inspection but throughout the year,” Herrera said.