The Sultana Airforce JROTC program is taking stock of its achievements and looking toward new goals and a busy second half of the 2009-10 school year.


In early November, the program received a very high rating during its inspection by USAF Colonel Donald Belche, who visits area ROTC programs three times a year.


"We had the very highest rating," said Sultana's program head Lt. Col. Thomas Jahnke, who was joined in an interview with the Hesperia Star with Cadet Nick Van Haastert. "We exceeded standards and had no negatives. Our next goal is distinguished unit."


While that would be a solid achievement, it's nothing new to Sultana.


"The last five years we've been a distinguished unit."


Also, members of the unit scored in recent competitive events including Cadet Kyle Smith who placed 2nd in single exhibition.


Volunteer hours


Once a month, the cadets perform military honors at the funerals of veterans at Riverside National Cemetery and make trips to the VA Hospital in Loma Linda. Altogether the six or seven participants donate 50 volunteer hours per trip. But they want to give more.


"One of our goals is to increase our number of hours to the VA,"Lt. Col. Jahnke said.


Canned food drive


Sultana cadets also raised 1,300 cans for the school's annual canned food drive, which was double the amount of previous event participation.


"It was the highest amount of cans raised by any organization on campus," he said. "So we lead the way."


Field trips


JROTC members also attend field trips, including visits to Edward Air Force Base and NASA's Goldstone facility.


"We listen to satellites a million miles away. It's quite a field trip."


Sabre team


A 20-person sabre team using real military sabres is forming, mostly for underclassmen.


"This is another opportunity to see what we do," he said.


Annual military ball


The Sultana JROTC will hold its 15th annual Neon Nights Military Ball on March 19 at the Ambassador Hotel in Victorville. Sultana JROTC cadets, who will be joined by their guests, wear service uniforms.


A special feature of the event will be the POW/MIA ceremony set to a backdrop of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless The USA."


"It's our way of remember our fallen comrades," Lt. Col. Jahnke said.


Joining the Navy


Cadet Van Haastert said that he recently signed papers to join the Navy.


"He's got a plan," his superior said.


"Four years and then a cop," Van Haastert added.