Eventful JRTOC year closes with carnival and a good cause


Leslie Barba

JRTOC Brigade Commander Colonel Rich Morales, Colonel Gary Crafton, Commander Sergeant Major Jennifer Caudillo, Cadet Command Commander Major General Peggy Combs, Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Crystal Barrera, Cadet Colonel Brigade Commander Justin Cardona, Sergeant Melissa Brown-Dinkins, and Principal Carmen Crosse during a memorable JROTC afternoon.

As the year wraps up JROTC members can look back at a year filled with prestigious events, an eventful season, successful competitions and even a special visitor on campus that left her mark on campus.

Aside from participating as the pep squad during football games, JROTC participated in and hosted many events such as raising about $900 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and donating to various food banks including Empty Bowls and Stamp Out Hunger, and participating in Plaza Palooza and March Of Dimes. JROTC is also hosting the upcoming DV Carnival with all proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Along the way, both drill teams, Armed and Unarmed were recognized Best in District and placed third at the National JROTC National Air Rifle Championship and Major General Peggy Combs made her way from Ft. Knox, KY to visit campus to evaluate the JRTOC program she had heard so much about.

“The most memorable moment for me was the UTEP Drill Meet because our team won the sweepstakes for the third year in a row and all teams placed either first or second,” SFC Melissa Brown Dinkins said. “But I’m excited for the Wounded Warrior carnival because we’ll be participating in such a good cause which helps raise money for servicemen and women, including their families, injured in combat.”

In the eventful year, Colonel Gary Crafton helped members succeed.

“As coach of the Rifle Team, we placed for the eighth year in a row in the National level with the rifles. With that, I’m proud of how our kids represent Del Valle regarding their discipline and performance,” Colonel Crafton said.

For some members, the journey of being in JROTC was rewarding in many ways. Exiting members can leave with a good feeling. This year, a member was promoted as Brigade Commander, having charge over the seven schools in the Ysleta district.

“The best part of being in JROTC is being able to pass on a legacy of leadership skills, instilling confidence in the cadets and knowing I can leave high school knowing the program is in good hands,” Cadet Colonel YISD Brigade Commander Justin Cardona said.

After such an excellent year, returning cadets can set goals and expectations for next year.

“In the beginning of the year, I wanted to be one of the best cadets that there could be. Now I’ve received the position of Superior LET 1 cadet. My hopes for next year are the same: to be the best cadet possible,” Sergeant Cadet Alexander Greenman said.

All JROTC services qualified to compete in the Third Position National Championships, and the Civil Marksmanship Program, 2015 National Air Rifle Championships and will compete in two championships in Aniston, AL in June.
“There will be 3-Position Air Rifles: Prone, Standing and Kneeling with 20 shots each. We want to shoot to our capabilities and nothing less. We want to be beyond average,” Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Crystal Barrera said.