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GHS JROTC earn title of honor unit with distinction

The 120 cadets comprising the Greenville High School JROTC were of one accord Wednesday, earning themselves distinction as one of the state’s top programs.

Representatives with the Army Cadet Command visited Greenville High School, as they do every three years, for the JROTC Program of Accreditation inspection, and the Greenville JROTC passed with flying colors.

The target was to score 190 points out of a possible 200 to achieve the title of honor unit with distinction.

The Greenville JROTC program was not only named an honor unit with distinction, but it did so with a score of 198, just two points shy of a perfect score.

GHS senior Army instructor Col. Alan Hester said that he was pleased, if not altogether surprised, with his cadets’ standout performance.

“Ninety-nine percent is good in anybody’s book,” Hester said.

“We weren’t perfect, but we definitely met my expectations. And it’s a great foundation to continue to grow and build our JROTC program, and to keep serving our community.”

The Greenville JROTC battalion was judged across a slate of various criteria.  The first was perhaps most rigorous of all; the inner-ranks inspection saw all 120 cadets examined, from the cleanliness of their shoes to their working knowledge of Army protocol.

The next inspection involved a drill competition, in which the four Greenville companies comprising the JROTC–Alpha, Beta, Charlie and Delta–faced off head to head.

Hester said that the second phase of the inspection actually served two purposes.

“The drill competition was graded for points on our accreditation, but it was also kind of used for us to have fun,” Hester said.  “We awarded the best company, which ended up being Delta Company.”

The Delta Company was showered with particularly high praise from Hester as well as the visiting Army inspectors, who remarked that Delta was as capable as many actual enlisted Army cadets.

“I served 31 years in the military, and I agree,” Hester said, echoing the evaluators’ sentiments. “The other three companies did very well, and I think they did better than most JROTC units. But the company that won, Delta, was as good or better than active duty companies that I’ve been involved with, assigned to or commanded. They were quite excellent.

“One of their platoon sergeants, who is also our drill team commander, is named Esron Satterwhite. He has an excellent command voice and excellent presence. The cadets really respond to him, and I honestly think that gave Delta company a little bit of an advantage because they had an experienced drill commander calling the cadence.”

Greenville High School principal Joseph Dean had a front-row seat to the military display Wednesday morning, and he concluded the ceremony by offering compliments to the entire battalion from a civilian perspective.

“My hat is off to you,” Dean said. “Please continue to do what you’re doing.  And be proud of yourselves and each other.

“The same mouth that you use to criticize… use that same mouth to commend someone.”

The Greenville JROTC program offers service to the Butler County community year-round in various capacities. The cadets host several Veterans Day programs, organize the community Bloodmobile drive, serve breakfast at the annual Martin Luther King breakfast, march in multiple parades, serve as honor guard at Greenville High School graduations, present colors at the Fourth of July celebration at Tiger Stadium and much more.

Hester said that it was a satisfying moment to see his cadets be honored for their year-round service in such a fashion.

“It’s nice to see that your hard work is justified in the end with recognition,” Hester said.