JROTC Cadet Capt. Patric Chatman, Cadet Maj. Joshua Dyar, and Cadet Capt. Mario Battle, all seniors at Douglas County, and Cadet 2nd Lt. Austin Benshoff, a junior, scored in the top 10 among 1,375 ROTC programs across the United States and abroad in the event organized by the College Options Foundation.
The students are among the 6 percent of all junior and senior ROTC members around the world who can wear the Douglas McArthur Foundation Leadership and the George C. Marshall Foundation Leadership and Academic medals, explained Maj. Charles Huddleson, who has led the school’s ROTC program since its inception in 2005.
The event was held at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., where the Douglas County team was paired with four other teams from Texas, Massachusetts and Maryland to complete a project, said Dyar.
“Once we got there in a classroom,” said Dyar, “we each took a test on the leadership principles of Generals George C. Marshall and Douglas McArthur. Our team then had to complete a project on decisions made by FDR with tie-ins to both Marshall and McArthur.”
“We were given a situation to decide the best course of action to take.”
Both leadership and academic prowess is part of the criteria to pick the team, said the major.
Battle plans to attend college after graduation and to participate in ROTC, expecting to be commissioned as an officer.
He said of the Washington, D.C., experience, “It was fun, and I got to see how other schools conduct their ROTC from across the country.”
The cross country runner and wrestler also enjoys his experience in ROTC because he said it motivates students to be better citizens.
Benshoff said he has been interested in military service since fourth grade. He calls JROTC “one of the stepping stones to go into the military.”
Chatman, who also plays baseball for the school, plans to pursue ROTC in college to ultimately become commissioned as an officer.
“I do ROTC because it helps me in the real world to develop leadership and discipline,” he said. “We learn different leadership principles and how they can be used in the real world.”
Douglas County High School has 160 cadets in its JROTC program this year, Huddleston said.