Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass visited the Air Force Enlisted Heritage Research Institute at the Maxwell-Gunter Annex to view the new Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps enlisted legacy display, May 12, 2021.
The display honors the dedication AFJROTC enlisted aerospace science instructors have to the program and the Air Force by continuing to serve the nation past their 20 years on active duty. It also highlights the impact the program can have on a young high school student who decides to enlist after being in AFJROTC.
“Our heritage matters,” Bass said. “The EHRI is more than just a collection of artifacts and items from our Air Force history, it is a place where the lessons of the past can help shape the decisions of the future. All of our Airmen can benefit from learning about the journey that helped build our great Air Force.”
The mission of AFJROTC is to develop “citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community,” and its goals are to instill values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment.
The staff includes approximately 1,900 retired officers and enlisted Air Force instructors.
“Today, we have approximately 1,000 enlisted instructors in AFJROTC,” said Dave Richerson, Headquarters AFJROTC chief of instructor management. “This (EHRI display) highlights an often-unknown part of our enlisted heritage. It recognizes the thousands of enlisted Airmen who, since 1966, continued to wear their uniform after retirement, developing citizens of character for America.”
The Enlisted Heritage Research Institute is an enlisted-centric museum. The AFJROTC display consists of current and historical photos, a guidon, antique textbook, unit patches and an accompanying video.
A Headquarters AFJROTC staff sergeant spearheaded the whole endeavor.
“I think that this project is important to AFJROTC’s legacy because it helps preserve the program’s history,” said Staff Sgt. Tikeya Strong, credit card and logistics technician. “It lets future generations see where the program began and where it is today. I hope that this project will help highlight AFJROTC, its enlisted instructors and all of the people like me who work behind the scenes.”
The retired enlisted instructors teach and inspire approximately 110,000 cadets in high schools at almost 900 AFJROTC units across the U.S. and select Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Europe, the Pacific and Puerto Rico.