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Cherokee NJROTC earns Distinguished Unit honor for 14th consecutive year

STAFF REPORT • Apr 14, 2020 at 6:00 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Area Nine NJROTC Manager Cmdr. Merv Dial announced Saturday that Cherokee High School  NJROTC has been named a Distinguished Unit for the 14th consecutive year.

This Honor Unit distinction is a significant accomplishment, authorizing the senior naval science instructor to nominate six eligible cadets each year to compete for U.S. Naval Academy appointments.

Distinguished Units may also nominate up to three cadets to the service academy of any branch.

Cherokee’s NJROTC unit averages around 130 cadets each academic semester in a joint effort opportunity, funded by both the Hawkins County school district and the Navy.

During the 2019-20 school year, Cherokee’s NJROTC completed 4,682 community support hours and 485 school support hours.

The community service efforts were accomplished through the leadership of Cherokee’s Commanding Officers Travis Baxley and Kameron Sauceman; Executive Officer Jewel Macgregor; Operations Officers Chris Seals and Elizabeth Massengill; and Command Master Chiefs Kendall Chamberlain and David Lewis.

Cherokee’s NJROTC has 22 seniors graduating this year.

Six cadets plan on attending a four-year college, five have plans for a two-year college/vocational-technical school, and seven have chosen careers that require them to possess a high school diploma.

Baxley has enlisted in the Army and Sauceman, MacGregor and Lewis enlisted in the Navy.

Cadets accepted for enlistment who provide evidence of successful completion of at least three years of NJROTC are entitled to advanced promotion to pay grade E-3 upon initial enlistment in an active or reserve component of the Navy or Air Force, and pay grade E-2 in the Army or Marine Corps.

Twenty-four Cherokee cadets were on the A/B honor roll, and eight of those made the national honors level with a GPA at or above a 3.5.

“Cherokee’s Navy JROTC success is built on a program that promotes patriotism, a love of country, respect for the flag and pride in the American way of life,” said Cherokee senior naval instructor Clyde Shumate. “Our emphasis on character development education and community service helps our cadets to function as responsible, reliable citizens of Hawkins County.”

Shumate added, “Upon returning to school after the COVID-19 crisis, Cherokee’s NJROTC will hold the annual awards ceremony where cadets will be awarded ribbons, medals and aiguillettes for participation in JROTC and team activities, as well as for personal academic and athletic achievement and leadership.”

A change of command ceremony will be held for Cadet Gabriel Lyons to assume command of Cherokee’s NJROTC; Josie Roten will become executive officer; Jessica Rawlings, operations officer; and Nathaniel Johnson, command master chief.

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