Thursday, October 2, 2014
From the Halls of Montezuma to the fields of Goochland High, the United States Marine Corps embodies the best of America.
On Wednesday, October 1, a unit commissioning ceremony for the Goochland High School Marine Corps Junior reserve Officers’ Training Corps ceremonially launched the program, which began at the start of the school year in August.
The current commander of Goochland American Legion Post 215, Col. Joe Wadle, USMCR, retired, acknowledged the debt Americans owe the veterans who secured the rights they take for granted. He said that the MCJROTC program came into being thanks to the vision, dedication and hard work of many people. Wadle’s involvement undoubtedly expedited deployment of the program in Goochland.
School Board Chair, Mike Payne, District 1, said that MCJROTC embodies a vision and goal of the school division’s strategic plan to inspire students to make a positive impact. The values of the Marine Corps: honor, courage, and integrity cannot be faked, contended Payne.
He gave special thanks to the Board of Supervisors for authorizing funding for the program.
Superintendent Dr. James Lane thanked all veterans and military personnel on active duty for their service. “We are proud to being the opportunity to participate in the MCJROTC program to Goochland, and inspired with a new culture in our school.”
The school division had three years to get enrollment in the program up to 75 students, yet nearly 120 students responded to the initial class.
Board of Supervisors’ Chair Manuel Alvarez, Jr., District 2 explained that the MCJROTC program was highly requested by constituents he and District 2 School Board Member Kevin Hazzard met while running for office.
“This program is not about politics, it’s about promises kept,” said Alvarez. “Here, we are offering courses to build character, develop critical thinking, teamwork, and practice skills most people never get until much later in life.”
Guest of honor Col. Wesley Lee Fox, USMC (ret.) and holder of the Congressional Medal of Honor, which is often conferred posthumously, shared sage advice. “If you’re not happy with who you are, drugs or alcohol aren’t going to change things.”
Fox encouraged young people to have a plan for their lives based on core personal values of courage and integrity.
The Quantico Marine Corps Band provided stirring music. The Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, an elite unit that exemplifies Marine discipline and professionalism, performed. This drill includes a series of precision movements while handling 10.5 pound hand polished M-1 Garand rifles with fixed bayonets. The ease with which these 24 Marines twirled and tossed their weapons is the result of countless hours of dedicated practice.
Enriching the high school years of Goochland students with positive role models and worthwhile activities will guide them to successful and satisfying lives. Not all students who participate in the MCJROTC will serve in the military, but the lessons they learn will help them to be good and productive citizens wherever life takes them.