"It all starts with attitude."
"Today's students and tomorrow's leaders."
"Air Force Junior ROTC... taking you to new heights."
"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."
History of the West High AFJROTC (AK-033)
The West Anchorage High School Air Force Junior Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) was established at the original Anchorage High School on September 1st, 1968 and designated by the Air Force as AK-033. AK-033 was the first JROTC, unit from any service, established in the State of Alaska and was the 33rd AFJROTC program in the Nation. The unit is currently under the supervision of Colonel (Ret.) Rick Strickland, Senior Aerospace Science Instructor; and Senior Master Sergeant (Ret.) Jeff Ullom, Aerospace Science Instructor.
The mission of the West HS AFJROTC program is “To develop citizens of exceptional character and integrity dedicated to serving their nation and community.” Our major goals are to instill values of citizenship in our cadets, to show the importance of service to our community and, to instill a sense of accomplishment and teamwork while helping to mentor and train the Nation's future leaders.
The Air Force JROTC program is not “high school basic training” for those desiring a future military career. While some cadets do eventually enter the military, AFJROTC is actually a High School elective where cadets are exposed to military organizations, customs and courtesies and uniform wear. They also receive academic instruction in leadership, aerospace science and health and wellness principles. Further they are encouraged to practice leadership and Corps Management and emphasis is placed on accepting responsibility and developing potential while becoming better citizens.
It’s not all academic instruction in AK-033 as cadets routinely participate in Curriculum in Action (CIA) field trips to both the Air Force and Army sides of Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson for hands on training and interaction with Soldiers and Airmen of various job descriptions. Cadets have toured aircraft and received incentive flights with the Air National Guard and Civil Air Patrol. They also participate in Summer Leadership Camps and Joint Service JROTC Drill/Color Guard competitions across the State of Alaska, march in parades and provide a variety of Color Guard support for local community events. They partake in physical fitness competitions, water survival training and help raise funds to purchase new drill team equipment and support cadet functions, picnics and lock ins that increase unit cohesion and morale.
Overall, cadets in AK-033 come from every walk of life, with various levels of diversity. The corps includes Honor Society members, football and basketball players, swimmers, wrestlers, rifle team members, cheerleaders, choir and orchestra members. But at the end of the day, all are cadets wearing the same AFJROTC uniform dedicated to serving their nation and community.
(Ret.) Colonel Rick Strickland, (email firstname.lastname@example.org) has been the Senior Aerospace Science Instructor for AK-033 for 6 years now. Colonel Strickland was active duty in the Air Force for over 30+ years before he retired and became an AFJROTC Instructor. (Ret.) Senior Master Sergeant Jeffrey Ullom, (email email@example.com) has been the Aerospace Science Instructor for 4 years. Sergeant Ullom was active duty in the Alaska Air National Guard for over 23+ years before he retired and became our second AFJROTC Instructor.
AFJROTC Academic Benefits
AFJROTC is a High School Elective and there are several academic benefits associated with the program.
After each semester, you will receive;
1st Semester – ½ Elective Credit
2nd Semester – ½ Elective Credit and ½ PE Waiver
3rd Semester – ½ Elective Credit
4th Semester – ½ Science Credit or ½ elective (your choice) and ½ PE Waiver
5th-8th Semester - ½ Elective Credit Zero Hour Drill – ½ Elective Credit
Summer Leadership Camp – ½ Elective Credit
JROTC involves a lot of teamwork and dedication. It teaches you real life skills that can be applied to your everyday life. We are essentially a leadership laboratory, with a focus on helping cadets become better leaders and living by the saying “Leadership is by example”. This also teaches cadets to realize how their personal actions have on a group as a whole.
AK-033 had a very successful 2016/17 school year and exceeded all of our corps goals. This success included the accumulation of more than 2,200 service hours and the recruitment of more than 70 new cadets into the program. As a Corps we also planned and executed a combined AFJROTC Cadet Leadership Course (summer camp) that was attended by more than 60 cadets. West HS AFJROTC also excelled in intra-state JROTC drill competitions. However, winning is nothing new to the AK-033 cadets. We have been recognized by the Air Force as an Honor Unit 11 times, and Distinguished Unit 12 times, with our latest being the 2017/2018 school year. In the spring of 2016, our Color Guard team took a trip to Daytona Beach, Florida to compete in the National High School JROTC Drill Competition. We competed in the “Open” category for color guard, placing 1st out of 42 JROTC teams from across in the country. On a local level, AK-033 cadets also excelled in drill competitions and won 11 total trophies for the 2017/2018 intrastate competitions. Drill practice has already started for the 2018/19 season and cadets anxiously await the first competition in December. A big part of drill is discipline, and cadets show for drill practice at 0600 every school day during drill season. This discipline is then carried forward into our community and contributes to the positive image of our program, school and the overall positive image of America’s youth.