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Lucky 13 and counting: Dobyns-Bennett Air Force JROTC honored again

Marybeth McLain, Community Contributor • May 13, 2020 at 8:00 PM

KINGSPORT — The Dobyns-Bennett High School Air Force Junior ROTC has earned the Air Force JROTC Distinguished Unit Award (DUA) for the 2019-2020 school year, the 13th consecutive year it has received the honor.

Of those 13 DUA’s, four previous awards were designated “with Merit” as the result of the Headquarters Air Force JROTC on-site program evaluation. The DUA is the highest level unit award for the AFJROTC awarded by Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Headquarters, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

This award places D-B in the top 25% of the 890 AFJROTC units in the world; enrollment includes more than 25,000 cadets.

All first and second semester D-B cadets will receive the DUA Ribbon for their uniforms, the guidon (or unit flag) will have another streamer added to the honors, and D-B will retain its designation as an Honor Military School for the 2019-20 school year.

“I am very proud of our D-B and D-B EXCEL cadets," said D-B senior aerospace science instructor and retired Air Force Col. Eric Vogt. “This recognition by Headquarters Air Force JROTC is a terrific confirmation of what the Kingsport community already knows. These young men and women are outstanding! It is an honor and privilege to work with them as they fulfill the core the AFJROTC mission: Develop citizens of character.”

For the current school year, 111 D-B cadets have performed 130 service events totaling more than 1,500 hours and have supported the community with color guards, ushers, event assistance and cleanup projects. D-B cadet commanders include Cadet Col. Wyatt Wenk and Cadet Capt. Josh Hale. Recently, Cadet Logan Williamson was one of 20 cadets from Air Force JROTC units around the world to be selected for the inaugural Air Force JROTC Cyber Academy taught by Mississippi State University professors. Cadet Williamson will earn three college credits and two industry certifications (IT Fundamentals and Certified Ethical Hacker) for his participation.

Since the D-B AF ROTC program was established in 2007, 651 students have participated in at least one semester and 59 cadets have enlisted or been commissioned into ranks of the armed services. Former D-B cadets are on active duty with the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. There are also JROTC graduates attending the Air Force, Naval, and Merchant Marine Academies.

This year’s D-B AFJROTC graduates include several cadets who have formally committed to joining the military: Army (Elijah Jordi), Air Force Academy (Ben Shanks), Air Force (Samantha Morris), Tennessee National Guard (Wyatt Wenk), Navy (Dominic Shepherd), and Marine Corps (Adam Bratton).

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