'WE ARE ALL BETTER PEOPLE BECAUSE WE TOOK THIS OATH OF ENLISTMENT'
During a stop at Yokota Air Base, the Commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service, Maj. Gen. Harencak gave the Oath of Enlistment to high school senior Christopher Rickenbach in front of his classmates, family and friends. The charismatic General told the crowd that “We are all better people because we took this Oath of Enlistment” and said that “We in America’s Air Force are thrilled to have Chris join”.
Rickenbach said “I feel incredibly honored knowing that I’m taking a step towards not only a family tradition, but the start to a great adventure”. His mom, Mrs. Beatrix Wagner, felt “honored to have raised a child who will serve his country with his best ability. Chris decided to serve and follow in the footsteps of pretty much every family member. It was very kind of the General and his staff to take time from their busy schedules to give Chris recognition in front of his peers and the friends he grew up with and who look up to him.”
The General’s visit included a review of the Air Force JROTC cadet STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) Lab, unique in the Pacific with its flight simulators, rocketry, marksmanship range and remote-controlled aircraft. JROTC cadets led the way, showing the General and his staff aspects of Yokota’s robust JROTC program, comprising over one-quarter of the school’s students.
Gen. Harencak welcomed Airman Rickenbach to the Profession of Arms Center of Excellence (PACE) stating “You are joining the Air Force family where the newest airmen are valued, embraced and empowered to succeed today and well into the future”. The PACE Team recently talked with 374th AW airmen including the JROTC cadets. Yokota’s JROTC is the first cadet unit to incorporate PACE concepts into their curriculum. Cadets Harvey and McDougall are leading the implementation of the pilot program.
Using mentoring and experience based training, Yokota cadets embraced the PACE concepts after attending the PACE Enhancing Human Capital workshop. Cadet leadership develops a culture of leadership beginning with the newest cadets. First year cadets are introduced to a more empowering transformation leadership style. A collaborative team focused on bottom-up perspectives gain insight and ownership of unit operations at the lowest level. First year cadets, in-turn, are encouraged, trained, and mentored to assume leadership positions with the cadet corps at a much earlier grade level. For unit mission execution, cadet leadership formed a Cadet Programs Directorate whose primary function is two-fold: provide a Strategic (long-range) direction for the Cadet Corps; develop character, core values, commitment, and leadership from a bottom-up perspective.
Yokota cadets are the beta-test unit for AFJROTC and are working collaboratively to develop real-life applications for JROTC, ROTC, and CAP similar to the Airman’s Week at Basic Military Training at Lackland AFB. The YHS cadets have just earned their fifth AFJROTC Distinguished Unit Award recognizing them as being in the top 10% of 890 AFJROTC units worldwide.