Navy JROTC at Apache Junction High School wins top national honor for 13th year in a row

Members of the Apache Junction High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at a recent cookout. (Submitted photo)

The Apache Junction High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program received a letter from the Secretary of the Navy that its program is one of the best in the nation. The honor was presented for area 11 (California and Arizona) region.

Only two Arizona schools were selected this year. Apache Junction has received this distinction for the 13th consecutive year, an honor that has never been achieved by an Arizona school before, according to a release.

Apache Junction High School was also designated as a Navy Distinguished Unit, which is awarded to the top schools in the nation on an annual basis.

“The program, taught by Marine Corps Maj. William Parker and Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer David Patti, is awash with accolades,” according to the release.

“AJHS’s Navy JROTC qualified for the state and Navy Area marksmanship championships, state and Navy area academic team championships, state and Navy area orienteering championships and the state drill team championships in 2017-18. AJHS hosted the state academic qualifier and Navy regional marksmanship championships,” according to the release.

Maj. Parker and Senior Chief Patti will be retiring at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

“We have an awesome group of cadets and they really worked hard for this,” Maj. Parker said in the release. “I will truly miss the honor of teaching these students.”

NJROTC started in 1916 and AJHS received a unit in 1996. Congress currently limits the program (Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps) to 3,500 high schools. No new schools are being funded and 600 schools are currently on the Navy waiting list for the program, according to the release.

The Apache Junction Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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