On Monday, October 16, 2017, representatives from Air Force Junior ROTC Headquarters paid a visit to Randolph-Macon Academy for an inspection of the 091st Virginia Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC). They examined numerous components of the corps from uniform wear, marching, financing, and support provided to Junior ROTC by R-MA.
Every Junior ROTC unit’s goal is to come out of these inspections as a “Distinguished Unit with Merit.” A small percentage of units are given this title. When R-MA last won this honor in 2014, they were one of 81 units to receive merit; 863 units worldwide. The inspectors do not hand this award out immediately since the corps’ stated yearly goals must be met, but they left The Hill with two words: “Exceeds standards.”
The Cadets of R-MA first assembled in Melton Memorial Gymnasium for a uniform inspection. They stood at attention in their full-service uniforms as the inspectors assessed the state of their dress. They passed with flying colors.
Next was the 30-count drill demonstration led by Cadet Senior Airman Taylor Wreath ’20. She executed all 30 commands based on complete memorization and wowed the inspectors. They claimed it to be one of the best executions of the 30-count they had ever seen.
The Yellow Jackets continued to impress throughout the day. Master Sergeant Stephen Pederson, USAF, Retired, spoke of the inspectors’ admiration for R-MA’s uniform storage room. “They were very impressed by how it was constructed,” said Pederson. “They were also impressed with how everything was organized and accounted for. If they asked for a size 40 service coat, they got it without a problem.”
The inspectors continued with the classes of each Aerospace instructor. They sat in on lessons, reviewed syllabi, observed the level of engagement with students throughout the lesson, and the utilization of technology. They were, again, very impressed.
Exceeding the standards was a well planned and executed team effort. “Our team has individuals who are very good at what they do,” said the head of AF Junior ROTC at R-MA, Colonel John Quatronne, USAF, Retired. “[Technical] Sergeant [Tina] Laing is fantastic with drill, Sergeant Pederson is great with handling logistics and the Junior ROTC budget, and [Master] Sergeant [Erik] Dupree was our lead in the entire effort.”
Of course, the cadets were instrumental in the high praise that the 091st Virginia AF Junior ROTC received. Members of cadre were pivotal in preparing their flights for the uniform inspection. The cadets themselves meticulously placed their ranks on their service coats and shined their shoes with precision. Their work ethic and effort were on full display.
The 091st Virginia AFJROTC will anxiously await the announcement of the units who earned the Distinguished Unit Award with Merit. Until then, they will continue to exceed standards.