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JROTC Command Formal Inspection gives top marks to local high schools

On Wednesday February 29, the American Samoa Multiple School Units Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) programs concluded their Command Formal Inspection (CFI), with the six local high schools that host the JROTC program— Faga’itua, Samoana, Tafuna, Manu’a, Leone and Kanana Fou High Schools.

The inspection team was composed of members from the University of Hawaii Manoa, Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, which included Lieutenant Colonel Kevin McKay and Captain Jesus Cruz. From the 8th Brigade out of Ft. Lewis Washington was Mr. Mark Pratt and Mr. Mark Thompson and from the local DAIA Office was Lt. Colonel Mapu Jamias along with 1st Sgt. Ben Lausen.

Recurring inspections are conducted annually, with the CFI being conducted only once every three years.

For several months this school year, approximately 1,200 JROTC cadets from the six high schools and their instructors have prepared for the CFI. Each cadet spent many hours studying areas to be inspected in addition to their regular school subjects. Key areas of the CFI were the In-ranks Inspection, which included two questions to each cadet, the Color Guard performance, Drill and Ceremony, Curriculum Knowledge and a detailed Task Force Staff briefing.

The JROTC inspection grading system starts with unsatisfactory and continues through satisfactory, merit unit, honor unit and honor with distinction (equivalent of an A+ grade).

JROTC Program Director Lt. Colonel Mapu Jamias attributes the success of the inspection to his entire staff, the American Samoa Department of Education office, the cadets and their parents. “Three years ago when I was new to the program, we had only one A+ unit, three A units and two B units,” said Lt. Colonel Jamias. “Our goal was to get all schools to the      A+ unit, but we fell short by two schools.

“My heartfelt appreciation goes to my office staff, 1st Sgt. Ben Lausen and Mr. Vaia Laufasa. We spent after-work hours and holidays making tags to ensure that every cadet had a name plate for their uniform. The same kudos goes out to all of the instructors from each school that got the cadets prepared and everyone else who had a hand in everyone’s success,” he said.

The four schools that achieved Honor Unit with Distinction (HUD), the highest recognition a school can achieve — and with it, the authority to wear the HUD Gold Star on their uniform— went to Tafuna, Samoana, Faga’itua and Manu’a High Schools.

Leone and Kanana Fou High School’s gained recognition of Honor Units or a grade of ‘A’ and as a result earned the Honor Unit Blue Star Award. For all JROTC programs, wearing of the Gold or Blue Star is a highly sought privilege and is considered a significant unit accomplishment.

Command Sergeant Major Thomas M. Bruce of Samoana High School spoke highly of the inspection by saying, “This is the first time I have had the opportunity to witness this inspection. I was privileged to participate in four of the inspections, including my own Taskforce. I came away with a deep appreciation of the pride and professionalism of every cadet in American Samoa,” he said.