The Northside Grizzly JROTC Battalion Changed Command and commissioned Company F in a ceremony in the Grizzly Kaundart Fieldhouse. Cadet LTC Cassie Reynolds presided over and transferred leadership to newly promoted Cadet LTC Jeason Lopez and the 2017-2018 command team.
Northside JROTC Commander, LTC (RET) Jason Meharg said, "This has been an incredible year for the Grizzly Battalion. We continued our winning streak as Raider and Rifle state champions, volunteered over 4,000 hours to our local community, and watched as many of our cadets received individual awards, scholarships, and 15 of our seniors choosing to serve something bigger than themselves, their country! It all starts with leadership"
Meharg continued, "Cadet Reynolds has been a fantastic leader as the Grizzly BN commander. She successfully led the largest number of cadets in a single battalion in not only Northside history, but in all of 5th Brigade, an 8 state region that includes Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
During her command, Reynolds focused on three key areas; cadet discipline, communication among cadets, and school and community involvement. Her leadership in these areas resulted in cadets who were more informed, better prepared, and the highest percentage of cadets support what the Northside Battalion has dubbed as the organization's "Big 5" command activities - Veterans Day Parade, Honor Society Induction, Wreaths Across America, the Grizzly Mega Meet, and the Military Ball.
Meharg said, "She exemplified what it means to be leader in JROTC," and for her actions she was awarded the LTC (RET) Earl Massey award, the Senior Army Instructor top cadet of the year, and the Superior Cadet Decoration.
The Change of Command Ceremony included the Passing of the Sword and the Passing of the Guidon for each of the command's companies. Though no longer part of the Army’s inventory, the War Department adopted the unique Non-Commissioned Officer Sword in 1840. Army sergeants carried the sword as part of their uniform for more than 70 years, including through the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. The passing of the sword/saber signifies the relinquishing of responsibility and authority to the in-coming command sergeant major and first sergeants. In the same way, the transfer of the company guidon incorporates history, traditions and the accomplishments of the organization's commissioned officer ranks. Historically, the flag or colors of a unit served as the point around which the Soldiers of the organization rallied as they moved forward into battle. The colors have traditionally been at the side of the commander and were carried forward even when the commander fell in combat. "All others may perish, but the colors live on." The guidon is an extension of the unit colors, to the company level.
In the 2017-18 school year and with an enrollment of 350 students, Grizzly Battalion added a 6th Company, FOXTROT, and the program will participate in a Program Accreditation visit from Cadet Command, an external inspection that occurs every four to five years.
Meharg concluded, "Cadet Lopez and all the cadets are up to the challenge and we expect nothing less than excellence. We look forward in representing the Grizzly Battalion, the greatest School District in the State, and the Fort Smith Community."
To see a portion of the cremony, click here.