JROTC celebrates year’s end with awards banquet

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JROTC celebrates year’s end with awards banquet

Asa Herndon, Humans of Tunstall Editor

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Tunstall JROTC celebrated the end of the year with an awards ceremony and banquet on Wednesday, May 9. The ceremony not only housed the Trojan Battalion, but additional members from US Defense branches, like the Army and other military organizations including the Vietnam Veterans of America.

The ceremony opened outside the high school with lowering of the flags. All parents and attendees watched as the entire Trojan fleet, under the command of junior Nikki Scearce, marched in perfect unison down the driveway, in front of the sidewalk, to retrieve the flags. After this, all of the cadets and parents were led into the auditorium, where the ceremony was held.

Once everyone was seated, the awards were distributed not just to the cadets, but to the JROTC instructors, Colonel King and Sergeant Major Royall. Upon hearing their names called, they were speechless, but were thrilled when the ceremony was over.

Royall and King received the Community Builders Award from the local chapter of Masons Lodge number 210.

“It was a very unexpected honor, and I’m glad I got to earn such a special award,” Sergeant Major Royall.

Colonel King was also proud of his accolade, saying, “My father was a Mason, so earning this was surprising, but also very prestigious.”

Mrs. Marcie Gunter, who helped to organize the event, was honored with a bouquet of Mother’s Day flowers by King and Royall.

Additional awards were given to the students from veterans organizations. Senior Kayla Stamper was awarded with the American Legion Leadership award; senior James Hendrickson earned the American Leader Academic and the Distinguished Cadet award; sophomore Evan Adkins earned the Sons of the American Legion award; sophomore Deaja Porter earned the AMVETS Award and the Academic Excellence; junior Nikki Scearce earned the Association of the US Army AUSA award and the Superior Cadet award; senior Megan Hylton earned the Daedalians Award and the Superior Cadet award; senior Taylor Bryant earned the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Superior Cadet award; senior Christian Price earned the Hundley award.

Sophomore Kuper Simmons earned the Marine Corps League ribbon; junior Dakota Wilson earned the MOAA award, the Special Forces Superior Performance award, the Presidential award and the Superior Cadet award; junior Michael White earned the MOPH award; senior junior Jon Tyler earned the MOWW award, Adessa Breakley earned the National Sojourners award; juniors Madison Austin and Quinton Murphy won the ROA award; freshman Brandon Day was the TREA award; junior Ethan Atkisson received the Scottish Rite of Passage; sophomore Logan Hutchinson received the Sons of the American Revolution award; freshman Kindal Cassidy was awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars award, and senior Allen Ford was the Vietnam Veterans Medal.

In addition, several cadets earned extra achievements. Juniors Nikki Scearce and Michael White earned rank advancements, and junior Dakota Wilson was promoted to battalion commander. When asked how Dakota Wilson felt about earning the title and what he would say to the previous commander, he said, “I was surprised, but I was also hoping to get promoted to this title. I would personally thank Allen Ford for his previous leadership as commander and for inspiring me to get to where I am now. I hope to see him again soon.”

Ford was also very proud of Dakota’s advancement, saying “He was the best choice. He was the most distinguished candidate, and I’m glad he earned it.”

Senior James Hendrickson was awarded the distinguished cadet award.

“I was a little shocked at first, but I was proud to earn the award,” said Hendrickson.

Superior Cadet awards were awarded as follows: LET I–Deaja Porter, LET II–Kindal Cassady, LET III–Nikki Scearce, LET IV–Jon Tyler, LET V–Allen Ford, LET V–Dakota Wilson, LET VII–Taylor Bryant, and LET VII–Megan Hylton.

“The ceremony went very well overall, and we managed to make good time of handing out the awards while still leaving plenty of time for the banquet afterwards,” King said, when asked how he felt the ceremony went, “We look forward to honoring our future cadets like this in the years to come.”