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Mount Olive High School begins Air Force Junior ROTC

Mount Olive High School will begin a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program in September. Sponsored by the United States Air Force, JROTC develops leadership, self-confidence, self-discipline, and character, and teaches military history and customs. Physical fitness training and drill instruction is an important part of the program as well. 

JROTC will be offered in grades 9-12. Participating students are not obligated in any way to serve in the military after graduation; however, officials estimate between 30%-50% of JROTC cadets nationwide choose to either enlist, attend one of the military academies, or join collegiate ROTC.

Distinguished airman will lead program

Chief Master Sgt. Robert Bedell has been chosen to lead the JROTC program. Chief Bedell currently oversees 1,750 enlisted men and women as the Command Chief for the 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Located in central California, Vandenberg is the nation's West Coast space hub, delivering payloads into orbit and testing aircraft. 

“Working for Air Force Space Command is an absolute dream come true,” said Chief Bedell. “I have been fascinated with rockets and space since I was 4 years old when I first visited Kennedy Space Center. The Air Force has afforded me the pleasure of working directly on rockets and I have been involved with numerous launches. It doesn't get any better.”

A member of the Air Force for 29 years, Chief Bedell will retire at the end of this month. The distinguished airman has been awarded a host of commendations for excellence and service. He brings to Mount Olive High School years of experience mentoring young adults. In addition, his technical background in rocketry and space flight will provide students with unique real-world knowledge of aerospace science, one of the core components of the Air Force JROTC program.

Chief Bedell grew up in Toms River, New Jersey and joined the Air Force right out of high school. Serving in the military is a family tradition that started with Chief Bedell’s grandfather and great uncle who both served in the Army Air Corps in WWII. His father, uncle, brother, and cousin are all Air Force veterans, and his son is currently serving.

“Being an airman is what I wanted to be since I was 11,” the chief said. “Now that this chapter is coming to a close, I can't believe how quickly the time has flown by. I have loved every bit of my time on active duty. JROTC affords me the opportunity to continue to represent the Air Force in uniform while investing in our next generation. I believe my life experiences have been preparing me for this very position and I can't express how excited I am to be starting up this world-class program at Mount Olive High School.”

Mt. Olive Board of Education
227 US Highway 206, Suite 10
Flanders, New Jersey 07836
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Phone: 973.691.4000 Fax: 973.691.4022

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