HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps officers at Huntsville High School will be among the first in the country to convert their affiliation from the Air Force to the Space Force.
The school will be one of 10 units across the United States to convert this fall. All 10 schools volunteered. Selections were based on proximity to Space Force or related government agencies, including Space Force bases, facilities, and centers of influence, such as U.S. Space Command Headquarters, or NASA, Missile Defense Agency, and other locations, or where the current instructor cadre had prior space operations experience.
Retired Lt. Col. David Murphy, the senior aerospace science instructor at Huntsville High, said it is an honor to be one of the first and few Space Force JROTC units in the country.
“Any time you’re chosen to be the first of something, to be the leading edge of something that’s changing over, of course there’s going to be some bumps in it, but you’re going to get the chance to figure things out,” Murphy said. “You get to maybe establish how you want to do things. and it’s just a recognition to this program here that the cadets do a great job.”
The program will continue to focus on STEM activities and two national events, the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, and Stellar Xplorers, a team-building space system design competition.
About 1,200 JROTC cadets, or 1 percent of the entire AFJROTC program population, will be affected by this change. For now the program will continue to fall under the Air Force. Uniforms will not be changed immediately, but in the future may include Space Force lapel pins or patches.
Space Force JROTC aims to convert a total of up to 100 units over the next couple of years, according to Anthony “Todd” Taylor, chief of the program development division at Headquarters Air Force ROTC.