The Ridgeland program was inspected by retired U.S. Air Force Col. Dave Slaughter, the AFJROTC area administrator for Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and north Georgia.
“Col. Slaughter assesses programs to make sure they meet the standards set by headquarters,” said Ridgeland JROTC senior aerospace science instructor Lt. Col. Paul Simpson. “And then makes sure that the programs stay on track.”
Ridgeland Corps Commander Cadet Maj. Summer Whitlow and her senior staff, consisting of cadets Adam Wycuff, Chase Galyon, Tyler Myers, Caitlyn Sikes, Ian Simpson, and Courtland Miller, gave a formal presentation of the program showcasing the many accomplishments, activities and accolades the unit has achieved in the past three years.
The inspection includes a review of records, interviews with school officials, a formal briefing, a drill performance, cadet and instructor appearance and observation of both instructors’ teaching styles. Ridgeland exceeded in all areas.
“The cadets worked really hard in preparation for this inspection,” said Simpson. The Ridgeland program also received a rating of exceeds standards on its last inspection in 2008.
Cadets Tyler Myers, 17, and Ian Simpson, 17, were both awarded the Top Performer Recognition Award, given to the top two percent of cadets in the country.
“They are both juniors who have excelled in academics, AFJROTC activities, drill team and other extracurricular activities,” said Simpson.
The Ridgeland JROTC program is much more than drills, academics and training.
“Our cadets are an intricate part of so many functions in our community,” said Master Sgt. Carl Gentry, retired U.S. Air Force aerospace science instructor. “They volunteer to help at our local veteran’s organizations, the VFW and the American Legion. They conduct highway clean-ups, visit our nursing homes, help with ceremonies in other schools, and even support other counties when they put out and take up hundreds of flags and crosses for Memorial Day.”