The Wayne County JROTC Cardinal Battalion has once again received the highest level ranking
possible putting them amongst the top 15 percent of Army JROTC programs across the country.
“There are 1,741 Army cadet battalions and roughly only 15 percent are designated as an Honor
Unit with Distinction,” noted Senior JROTC Instructor CW4 William Sands.
The battalion officers shared their good news with the Board of Education recently. They gave a
brief report on the inspection and Battalion Commander C/LTC Taylor Bell presented each board
member with a battalion crest.The crest was designed by former cadet Amanda Neal in the early years of the program.
The cadets were ready for the inspection on March 8. Wearing their dress blue uniforms, the
cadets started the morning practicing marching and reviewing their inspection briefing.
“We’ve practiced quite a bit,” said Cadet Maggie Dishman, in regard to the drill element.
“I’m confident,” added Cadet Corporal Zeth Denney. “I think we’ve got this. I believe in
everyone’s ability here.”
Like many of the cadets, Denney said he always wanted to be in JROTC. JROTC is like a big family
and is passed down from parents and siblings, frequently. In fact, Zeth said his Dad, Chris Denney, had
been the Raider Team Commander when he was in school. So, the sophomore is following suit and is a
member of the Raider Team, which is the most physical of the extra-curricular teams.
“It all has perks. The Color Guard Team gets to carry the flags,” explained Denney.
Denney played varsity soccer his freshman year, but decided to devote his full energy to the
Raider Team this school year. He is thinking about going into the Air Force and try to fulfill his dream to
become a special tactics officer working on computers and drones. If that plan does not work out, he
would like to become an electrical engineer.
As the Drill Team marched in place in their practice gym facility at Monticello Elementary School,
the Color Guard members were also getting ready for the inspection. They present the colors at the
opening of the school year, ballgames, competitions, parades, graduation, and special events. This year
they unfortunately added a fellow color guard cadet member’s funeral to the list.
“That was the hardest thing we’ve done,” said Captain Anthony Catron, referring to Emily
Mateo’s tragic death. He was wearing one of the “Mateo Strong…We Will Never Forget” bracelets that
the cadets sold to help raise money for her funeral.
CPT Cadet Catron, a senior, takes great pride in carrying the flag. “I love to do it. It’s an honor to
“It is the most prestigious team to be on,” added Cadet Sergeant Tyler Lovett, who is also a
Color Guard member.
The cadets were well aware that the pressure was on to perform well and maintain the integrity
of the program in its 25 th year. This year’s inspection was part of the JROTC Program
Accreditation (JPA), which is the United States Army’s Cadet Command’s
inspection that only occurs every three years.
“Today is our day,” Instructor 1SG George Snyder told the cadets, knowing that their
performance was an important part of the history of the program.
When Gary Owens, the U.S. Army Cadet Command 7 th Brigade JPA Education Training Technician,
arrived the 84-member battalion were at the top of their game plan and ready for the inspection. The
inspection not only took into account the drill team marching and color guard performances, but both
cadet and instructor portfolios had to demonstrate: mastery of differentiated instruction, critical
thinking questioning techniques, staff core ability assessment, and overall continuous improvement.
Owens was focusing on the academic side of the program to make sure they fulfilled the
requirements. Writing, comprehension and reflection skills were assessed. The battalion officers
participated in a briefing, which included a power point presentation they had created. The cadets
shared their service-learning plan and a focus on recruitment to increase their enrollment. They spoke
about reading to younger children and speaking to older students to acquaint them with the JROTC
At the end of the day, the cadets had earned the Honor Unit with Distinction (HUD), the highest
level a cadet battalion can be rated on a JPA. Scores of 95-100 result in the cadet battalion being rated a
HUD. The Wayne County Cardinal Battalion scored an impressive 98.5 on a 100-point scale.
Congratulations to a Gold Star Unit for 25 years!
7th Brigade Cadet Command Education Training Technician Gary Owens was welcomed by WCHS Asst. Principal Steve Thompson and Senior JROTC Instructor William Sands
Instructor Sands checking attendance
Class Leader Lucas Richardson calls the roll
Cadets (l-r) Cameron Walters and Zeth Denney practicing drill sequence
Cadets practice a salute during Drill Sequence
1SG George Snyder directs the cadets
Color Guard (l-r) CPT Anthony Catron, Cadet SGT Tyler Lovett, Cadet Harley Huckaby, and Cadet CPL Dylan Powell
Battalion Staff Officers (l-r) Battalion Commander Cadet/LTC Taylor Bell, Executive Officer Cadet/MAJ Harley Baldwin, Security Officer Cadet/CPT Wayne Tucker, Command Sergeant MajorTrent McGuire, Operations Officer Cadet/Major Adrian Martin, Supply Officer Cadet/CPTWesley Weston, and Public Affairs Officer Cadet/CPT Grayson Guffey at briefing
Battalion Staff Officer Brianna Bybee facilitated the electronic presentation
CW4 Sands instructs class on inspection procedures