Northside JROTC program needs instructor to continue

Published 7:38 pm Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Leadership, character building, community service — these are some of the valuable lessons offered by JROTC programs at high schools throughout Beaufort County.

One of those programs, however, is in desperate need of a new instructor. Until recently, the Air Force JROTC program at Northside High School, was in peril of ceasing at the end of this school year. A one-year extension secured by N.C. Representative Keith Kidwell and U.S. Congressman Greg Murphy will give Beaufort County Schools until spring of 2021 to fill the position.

Under the rules set out by the U.S. Air Force, which partially funds the program, each JROTC class must have two instructors — an officer and a noncommissioned officer.

“For about 20 years, we had a dynamic duo at Northside High School and they both retired at about the same time,” BCS Assistant Superintendent Mark Doane said. “Over the last six years, we have a variety of different folks fill those roles and they’ve all been great people. But they were all folks that had families and side businesses in other parts of the state. At most, throughout the last six years, we’ve only been able to have one instructor in the position instead of the two instructors required by the Air Force.”

Currently, Northside High School, has one dedicated instructor in Sgt. Sonny Murphy, who has been at the head of the program for the past two years. To continue the JOTC offerings at Northside, however, the school system needs a retired commissioned officer to join him at the school.

Doane, the father of a former NHS cadet, recognizes the value the program brings to the school, its students and the community as a whole.

“It is a tremendous resource,” Doane said. “I’m biased, because my oldest son was in Air Force JROTC the entire four years he was at Northside High School, so I can’t speak highly enough of the program. Even if you’re not interested in the military, in terms of the leadership lessons, teamwork and values that you learn, the community service you provide and the competitions available, it offers a great program for our students.”

Doane said the ideal candidate would be someone who either already resides in Beaufort County or who would be willing to relocate to fill the position. Kidwell, who sought the extension to fill the vacancy, said he is also a believer in the value of JROTC programs.

“ROTC is an important part of what we do in our school systems,” Kidwell said. “When I found out they were going to shut it down for lack of an instructor, I thought we should be able to find an instructor, but the timeline was kind of short, only having until May to get the person in place.”

After contacting Murphy, Kidwell said the Air Force granted the school system a one year reprieve to find a new instructor. He said he hopes to help in the effort by reaching out to retired Air Force personnel and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

“I’m sure there’s someone out there, with as many retired military (personnel) as we have around here,” Kidwell said.

In order to qualify for the position, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be retired/retiring within nine months from the U.S. Air Force or be retired no longer than five years.
  • Must have published retirement orders
  • Hold a retired grade of E6 to E9 or O4 to O6
  • Hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in any major
  • Have a commercial e-mail address

More detailed application information can be found at under the Instructor tab on the right-hand side of the page. According to the site, waivers may be available for certain requirements.