Like any school year, the 2016-2017 is no different with hundreds of students from Daleville High School participating in the Pride of the South Marching Band and the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps programs. Many of those also participate in competitive athletics as well.New Senior Army Instructor retired Col. Teresa Townsend took the reins of the JROTC in August and joined Retired Sgt. 1st Class Richard Austin who began with the program in early 2016 during the last school year. Having worked together in the active military they have melded together to push the award-winning Warhawk Battalion forward even more.Townsend, who was a part of JROTC in her youth and commissioned as an officer into the active military after serving in the ROTC program at Tuskegee University, was a part of the award winning Enterprise High School Belles of the Blue Knights Drill Team. She intends to bring that experience to the Warhawks and “is breathing new life into the Drill Team.” Townsend said that while the drill team has competed in some competitions in the past, she is upping the level of training and competitions. The Drill Team practices for hours each week and is expected to compete in area and state competitions. The 11-member team is practicing hard for the state competition in January.Drill Team members are Commander Anna Herring, Elaina King, Erika Herring, Joseph Gordon, Jazmin Bonam, Alyssa Straw, Kamaria Goldsmith, Jeremy Smith, Jasmin Clark, Anna Deras and Alexis Munoz.Townsend has also introduced the JROTC Leadership and Academic Bowl competitions to the battalion. All cadets took part in the online October practice test. The Academic and JROTC Leadership Bowl teams are hoping to make it to Level Three competition, which will take them to Washington, DC during the spring. The Leadership Bowl Team is made up of William Bass, Graysen Faulk, Jeremy Smith, Daizy Wallace and alternate Zachary Byrd. The Academic Bowl Team consists of Trinity Gray, Jamie Peters, Anna Deras, Alyssa Knoebel and alternate Jerry White.JROTC has “something for everybody,” said Townsend, whether it’s physical fitness, shooting skills, knowledge or drilling. She is quick to point out, however, that JROTC is about the students.“It’s their battalion. They run it. Sgt. (Richard) Austin and I are facilitators.”Students leading the JROTC this year are Cadet Battalion Commander Lt. Grace Lim, Cadet Executive Officer Maj. Lucy Jones and Cadet Command Sgt. Maj. Kenyetta Stephens.Cadet Capt. Kristen Wilson commands Alpha Company. The Bravo Company Commander is Cadet Capt. Mersedes McDaniel and Cadet Capt. Stevanna Thomas commands Charlie Company.At each home football game, the color guard rendered honors to the nation as well as at multiple area events, including the Fort Rucker Captains Career Course Military Ball. Members of the Color Guard are Zachary Byrd, Ana Herring, Alexis Munoz, Kamaria Goldsmith, Bailey Williams, Angel Andrews, Edward Alexander, William Bass and Elaina King.Also at home football games, members of the JROTC Physical Fitness Team’s push-up squad saluted the football team by performing push-ups in the end zone and running laps around the field each time the Warhawks scored. Team members are Tommy Lam, Erica Herring, Jailyn Smith, Jay Wigglesworth, Troy Bakies and Garrett McCravey. Townsend said the PT team also competes and being a member involves “very intense physical training.”The nationally award-winning Warhawk Battalion Rifle Team has been busy competing in live and postal matches. Team members are Lamar Rabon, James Waters, James Chambers, William Bass, Ethan Wilson, Troy Bakies, Trinity Gray, Harrison Baker, Ana Escalante, Gavin Denius, Evan Eaton, Brennen Brazell, Andrew Legette and Bailey Williams. The team is preparing for the “Above the Best” competition at Fort Rucker in January.As for how some of the leaders feel about the current JROTC year, Cadet Executive Officer Maj. Jones said, “Throughout the year, it’s been different adjusting to our changes. It’s been a pleasure getting to know our new colonel and learning the different aspects she has brought to the battalion.”Cadet Command Sgt. Maj. Kenyetta Stephens said, “Overall the colonel has really been involved. She’s really moving the program and I am excited to see what we will do the rest of the (school) year.”Cadet Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Lim said, “We are pushing really hard with the teams this year. We want to win. I am glad the colonel is focusing on the teams. With us practicing this hard, we are going to place in competitions. I am excited to see that colonel is excited about JROTC and she loves teaching and that excites me. She is involved in a lot of things…”
The leaders of the Daleville High School JROTC Warhawk Battalion hold weekly staff meetings. Pictured, back row, from left, are Senior Army Instructor retired Col. Teresa Townsend, Cadet Tommy Lam, Cadet Lamar Rabon, Cadet Mersedes McDaniel, Cadet Anna Herring, Cadet Kristen Wilson and Army Instructor Sgt. 1st Class Richard Austin. Seated, from left, Cadet Executive Officer Lucy Jones, Cadet Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Grace Lim and Cadet Command Sgt. Maj. Kenyetta Stephens.