Yokota cadets receive Distinguished Unit Award
“By order of the Director of AFJROTC… Congratulations to the Air Force Junior ROTC cadets at Yokota High School for earning the Distinguished Unit Award for 2011-2012.” With this announcement, Cadet 2nd Lt. Luz Armas, acting as master of ceremonies, called the cadets to attention as Yokota High School Principal Darrell Mood pinned the award streamer on the Cadet Unit Flag.
“The Distinguished Unit Award recognizes the personal growth and accomplishments of the cadets, the contributions of the instructors as mentors, and the support of the school and community. The Distinguished Unit Award is limited to the top 10% of our nation’s 988 Air Force Junior ROTC units,” Armas continued.
The award presentation concluded a cadet tradition known as the “First Rank Pinning-on Ceremony.”
“Like the active duty, making rank is a special occasion,” said Lt. Col. Gary Ardo, JROTC senior aerospace science instructor. “Since the beginning of this school year, our new cadets have undergone an extensive orientation in military customs and courtesies, precision drill and uniform wear. During the past nine weeks, basic cadets wore no rank. Today, in recognition of their achievement, they will be promoted and formally welcomed into the Cadet Corps.”
Formed up at the school’s central square, the cadets were surrounded by school administrators, Wing leadership, parents, fellow students and teachers who came to share and participate in the ceremony.
Cadet Lt. Col. Jake Jackson, the Cadet Corps commander, said, “Our tradition is for our parents and upper class cadets to pin the rank on our new cadets,” adding, “I am very proud to represent the Cadet Corps to our community. We are a part of Team Yokota.”
Presiding over the ceremony was the 374th Airlift Wing Commander, Col. Mark August. Speaking directly to the cadets, August remarked, “Cadets, close your eyes and imagine what success is like. Feels pretty good, doesn’t it?”
August praised the cadets for their hard work, courage and accomplishments. He concluded with congratulating every cadet on behalf of the Airlift Wing.