By Matt Genovese
On Saturday, June 29th, 28 members of the Jackson 782nd Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) graduated from a week-long leadership class held at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
The students from Jackson Memorial and Jackson Liberty High Schools left for the Joint Base the week prior and stayed on the base in barracks rooms used by Army enlisted personnel. The Jackson corps was one ten AFJROTC units participating in the training. Jackson’s cadets were broken up into 8 different Flights of cadets and intermingled with the other 200 cadets to push them to form new bonds and learn to work together with new groups of students.
The Leadership Laboratory Activity (LLA), as it is know in the Air Force, gives the cadets a glimpse of
what military life is like. The senior cadets were put in charge of the basic cadets and they all learned about different jobs in the military, leadership skills and the importance of team work.
LLA also exposed the cadets to a few of the other branches of the military as well. They did exercises with the Army and National Guard at the Army’s Battle Lab. They also had the opportunity to work with the Coast Guard personnel at their facility on the Joint Base. The Coast Guard personnel went over some basics of life on board a ship with the cadets.
Eleven of Jackson’s cadets who were returning for second or third years at LLA were chosen to take up important leadership roles in the cadet corps. Sam Shea was the second highest ranking cadet in LLA serving as Group Vice Cadet Commander. The ten other cadets were assigned to staff positions or were Flight Commanders or Flight Sergeants.
The top ranking Flight of the week, which was named “Honor Flight” at the graduation ceremony, was commanded by Ivonne Carrion from Jackson. Also, at graduation the Color Guard was commanded by a Jackson cadet, Dominique Bergeron.