Pictured third from left
Captain Jimmy Arias (Class of 1996)

Patchogue-Medford High School Class of 2005 Graduation.

1st LT Bryant Harrison (Class of 1999)
USAF pictured on a F15E, Strike Eagle

Virginia Military Institute graduation, May 2003.
Colonel Atkinson, Bryant Harrison, MSGT Herbert

Brenda Orejuela (Class of 2001)

JROTC field trip to Washington DC, April 2005

J.R.O.T.C. at PMHS

A Positive Approach to Building Better Citizens

The Junior ROTC program at PMHS has been actively educating our students for 31 years. The acronym stands for Reserve Officers Training Corps. The late Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Echevarria began the program at PMHS in 1975. The current ROTC instructors at PMHS are Colonel Robert M. Atkinson and MSgt Robert A. Herbert. Both men are retired from the US Air Force and began teaching at PMHS in 1995.

The national motto for ROTC is "We Build Better Citizens for America." Building better citizens is exactly what this fine program has been doing for the students of Patchogue-Medford. The program is not a recruiting program, but it is an academic program that teaches its students aerospace science along with leadership and life skills.

The program is divided into 3 different years. The first year consists of aerospace science and the history of aviation from classical mythology to the space age. The second year teaches aviation science: weather, basic aerodynamics, flight physiology and basic navigation. A study of the space program, both manned and unmanned, along with astronomy is covered in the 3rd year. Col. Atkinson teaches these courses. MSgt Herbert teaches the leadership courses, which cover various life skills: wise credit use, balancing a checkbook, drug and alcohol avoidance, stress management, intercommunication skills, public speaking, basic introduction to management, how to be a better citizen, etc. MSgt Herbert also teaches the proper wear of the USAF uniform along with drill and ceremonies.

Upon graduation from PMHS, students who have completed the ROTC program have several options. If they choose to enlist in the military, they may receive a pay grade that is 2 steps higher once they complete basic training. If a student chooses to attend college, the ROTC program offers them many different scholarship opportunities.

Several PMHS graduates have benefited from both of these options and met with success. Michelle Morse (2004) received a full tuition Air Force scholarship and now attends American University. Bryant Harrison (1998) and Brian Bohan (2001) also received full tuition Air Force scholarships. Bryant Harrison is currently a weapon systems officer, or a "back seater" in a F-15E Strike Eagle. Brian Bohan majored in Physics at Clarkson University, Potsdam, N.Y. and has been selected for USAF pilot training. Dominick Totino (2005) attends the US Air Force Academy Prep School and will enter the Academy in Colorado Springs next year. Edward Tremblay (2002) is at the Naval Academy in Annapolis and will graduate in 2006. Paul Lalicata (1996) graduated from the US Coast Guard Academy and is now an officer in the USCG. Christopher Nickel (2001) is a member of the Air National Guard at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach. Class of 2003 graduate Karen Gonzalez is a member of the US Army, while class of 2000 graduate Sonia Loureiro is a USAF intelligence officer.

Many other PMHS graduates, too numerous to mention, have benefited from the positive presence that ROTC brings to the students of Patchogue-Medford. As members of PMCT, we thank both Colonel Atkinson and MSgt Herbert, as well as their predecessors for the fine job they do in helping to "Build Better Citizens for America" here at PMHS.

Dan Amster (class of 1999 ) pictured on the cover of Leatheneck Magazine in an AAV(Amphibious Assault Vehicle)

Pictured on the right Michelle Morse (class of 2004)

[PMCT.ORG Home Page]