The Arkansas High AFJROTC (Air Force Junior ROTC) is busy once again with the new school year and a new project. The ROTC group plans to create a Diorama of the World War 2 D-Day Normandy Beach Landing. The class instructor, MSgt. Douglas McLane, USAF Ret., is planning the project as an educational tool and a 75th Anniversary event for the history of the landing. The project will take a little over $1,120 to complete but will benefit not only the ROTC program at Arkansas High but all students at the school and beyond. (Donate)
The ROTC program has a long history at Arkansas High dating back to its establishment on September 1, 1967. The program is designated as AR-022 which notes that it was the 22nd program of its kind put in place. The agreement between Arkansas High and the United States Air Force has allowed several retired Air Force to serve as instructors and mentors for young people since the founding in 1967. Like many instructors, MSgt. McLane was not looking for a job when he saw the advertisement for the position. Intrigued, he called to find out that there were no applicants for the position which indicated to him that this might be a calling. McLane answered the call of service once again. Work started to build on the program to help enhance the lives of those in the ROTC program.
In 2019, the program won the Outstanding Unit of the Year Award with Merit. This was the first time the program has ever won the award. In 2018, the unit attended the Drill and Fitness Competition along with 14 other units. Arkansas High’s united won several awards at the event including 2nd Place Unarmed Drill Exhibition, 2nd Place Armed Tandem Exhibition, and 2nd Place Uniform Inspection. The unit then brought home the 1st Place in the Individual Female Fitness Award. Before 2019, and in recent years, the unit has had several successful competitions and recognition that include:
- 2nd Place Unarmed Regulation Drill 2017
- 3rd Place Armed Regulation Drill 2017
- Recognized at the LA Tech’s Veteran Ceremony at Bulldog Stadium before the game with Rice University
- Won Outstanding Civic Marching Group in the Veterans Day Parade 2018
- Won Outstanding marching Group in the Veterans Day Parade 2018
- Outstanding Color Guard Unit at the Live United Bowl for 2016, 2017 and 2018
With so much success and promise coming from the program, Instructor MSgt. McLane is now reaching for more for the unit with the D-Day Project. Ultimately, any major project like McLane has developed will need funds. The unit has created an online web page where community members, business leaders, retired military, and anyone with interest in helping this unit can donate specifically for the project. The project is described in detail on the page:
“The students will learn about the historical event of D-Day and the importance of the major military operation during World War 2. Using model kits, paint and modeling materials, the students will create a huge 3′ X 8′ D-Day Diorama from the ocean transports to the beach landings. Then the students will design the cliffs with German Bunkers overlooking the invasion. The students will research the historical events and recreate the diorama to learn what exactly took place. Finally, the students will tag the specific areas of the diorama to highlight the exact locations where certain conflicts took place and how the Allies were able to overcome those obstacles.”
The current school year has an enrollment of over 100 Cadets. This opportunity for these young men and women to not only learn the history of the D-Day Invasion but to recreate the historical events in a diorama is unprecedented at Arkansas High. No donation is too small, and the drive has just started. Naturally, not all these young men and women will go on to serve in the United States military, but many of them may. Your donation can help them learn military history today, that might make them better military leaders for our nation tomorrow. MSgt. McLane answered the call to make a difference in the lives of over 100 students and potential military leaders of the future at Arkansas High. Can you join him and help make a difference now?
You may also learn more about the AFJROTC at Arkansas High by visiting their Facebook Page.