The 782nd Air Force JROTC program based at Valencia High School had its shakedown Monday morning before leaving for two weeks of summer camp at Camp San Luis Obispo.
Capt Edward Colley, Senior Aerospace Science Instructor, and MSGT Fred Malcolm, Aerospace Science Instructor, run the program for over 150 cadets. Yesterday morning MSGT Malcolm and some 16 advisors inspected over 80 cadets to make sure they had everything necessary to survive two weeks of drilling, physical training, obstacle course, confidence course, land navigation, forced marches, water survival and more.
I am focusing on the advisers today to learn a little about these former JROTC cadets who will be spending two weeks of their time this summer as unpaid advisors guiding the current corps of cadets.
SGT Edward Trinidad, 24, (class of 2002) was on hand to assist with the shakedown. SGT Trinidad spent 4 years in the JROTC program before enlisting in the Army. He was in the 82nd Airborne and spent 2 tours in Iraq and 2 tours in Afghanistan. He said the JROTC program taught him leadership skills that helped him while he was in the Army. SGT Trinidad recently ended his Army service after 6 years.PFC Matt Case, 19, (class of 2007) just got back from 6 months in Iraq with the 82nd Airborne. He is on post-deployment leave and offered to work as an advisor for this year’s JROTC camp.
SPC4 Alexander Mann, 22, (class of 2004) was a medic in the Army, including a tour in Iraq. He just got out of the Army and offered to be the medic for the cadets at Camp San Luis Obispo.
LCPL Daniel Jones, 21, (class of 2004) is with the 23rd Marines, 4th Infantry Division and scheduled to deploy to Iraq in 2009. He spent 4 years in the JROTC program and was group commander his senior year. He has been an advisor in each of the summer camps since graduating high school.
“I want the cadets to reach down inside themselves to see what they are made of,” Jones said.
There were a number of advisors who spent 4 years in the JROTC program and are now in college with appointments or scholarships.
Andrew Risse, 17, (class of 2007) is going to the Air Force Academy in 2 days. Ryan Buell, 19, (class of 2007) is on an Army ROTC scholarship in his 2nd year at VMI.
“JROTC teaches life values,” He told KHTS.
Julie Markow, 19, (class of 2006) will be a junior at VMI and is a Platoon Sergeant there. Julie, a former group commander, said, “The cadets will learn things in the JROTC program that they can use the rest of their lives.”
April Stahl, 18, (class of 2008) will attend California State University at Fresno on an Air Force ROTC scholarship. She said JROTC teaches leadership, self-esteem and how to work as a team. Lauren Hediah, 18, (class of 2008) will attend George Washington University in Virginia on a Naval ROTC scholarship. She said she joined JROTC on a whim and found a second home. She admittedly loved the program because it gave her room to grow and mature.
Steve Matsumoto, 17, (class of 2008) will attend Harvey Mudd College in Claremont on an ROTC scholarship.
Jonas Pasion, 18, (class of 2008) will attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa on an Air Force ROTC scholarship. He plans to major in civil engineering.
.Amanda Wells, 18, (class of 2007), spent 4 years in the JROTC program and was group commander her senior year. She just finished her first year at COC. Calandra DeCastro, 19, (class of 2007) is studying oceanography and math at Humbolt State. Tiana Hanna, 18, (class of 2008) will study environmental science administration at California State University at Monterey Bay. She said, “I’m looking forward to experiencing summer camp as an advisor after 4 years as a cadet”.
Kim Tang, 19, (class of 2006) is studying political science at UCLA. She said she’s here because she wanted to give back to the program. And Vanessa Ulloa, 17, (class of 2008) has 2 brothers going to summer camp. One is going to be a junior and likes the program. The other is going to be a freshman and this should be an experience for him.
The advisors had only positive things to say about the JROTC program. The JROTC program had an impact on their lives, and they wanted to give back to a program that was so meaningful to them. That’s why they’re back to help and teach the cadets about leadership, self-confidence and teamwork.
Captain Colley said that the cadets will earn their own self-esteem through trial and accomplishment. The young cadets made their share of mistakes during the shakedown yesterday, as some did not bring everything on the list, and others brought too much. But that’s why they have the shakedown.
I left as the cadets and advisors were getting on the buses. I’m sure that when the cadets return in 2 weeks they will stand a little taller and look a little trimmer.
Written by John Jones.