The SPS AFJROTC program was in danger of disappearing from St. Paul’s when they failed the inspection held last year, but with their hard work and dedication, the program was rescued and earned an “Exceeding Standards” rating when recently inspected by Maj. Don Bailey of the Air Force.
According to the Commander of the SPS AFJROTC, Msgt A.J. East, the unit is evaluated every four years. A year before the final evaluation, the unit has a pre-inspection to get them ready for the the final unit evaluation. AFJROTC is a cadet-run program, and the inspector has to make sure the cadets are actually running the program and abiding by certain regulations. The cadets are responsible for inventory and wearing their uniform properly, and the second year cadets have to be able to do the 30-second drill sequence. East is also accountable that he is properly teaching in-class Air F0rce instructions.
After last year’s inspection, the unit was put on probation, due to low numbers and various infractions.
“We cracked down on haircuts and other uniform infractions that hurt us last year,” Cadet Captain Patrick Rudiger said. “We worked very hard on the drill sequence, which we demonstrated to the Major who inspected us.”
According to Rudiger, the SPS unit is now guaranteed to be in place for another three years, pending funding from the school for their portion of the program, “The Major was very impressed by us and will support us at ROTC headquarters,” Rudiger said.
According to East, the SPS AFJROTC unit can also apply for an “outstanding unit” award because they got an “exceeds standards” rating, but they also have to meet their goals for the year in order to qualify. The goals for the AFJROTC are to pass the Semiannual Presidential Physical Fitness Test, make it to the semi-finals in the Academic Bowl, conduct a project honoring veterans, support Eagle Scouts, complete 20 community service projects, have at least 15 percent musicians and 10 percent athletes in the program, maintain 90 percent enrollment, organize the JROTC field trip, and raise $5,000.
The unit recently completed a field trip to Huntsville, Ala., and Atlanta, Ga. They sold entertainment books at the beginning of the year, and around the holiday season they conducted a raffle, meeting their fundraising goal.
According to East, if the SPS AFJROTC unit had failed the inspection, the base would have given them a specified time to correct the mistakes. After that specified time, the inspector would have returned to either fully reinstate the program or shut it down completely.