A Cadet Run, Cadet Led Program
(CEDAR HILL, TEXAS) United States Air Force Retired Major Cort Stargell is honored and delighted to be an instructor in the Cedar Hill High School Air Force JROTC Program.
He never thought he’d have the opportunity.
Stargell enlisted in the United States Air Force, upon graduation from high school in 1986, became a commissioned officer in 2001 and retired in 2013 as a Major.
Shortly after retirement, family obligations led him to rural Iowa where he ran his family’s insurance and real estate business.
He recently moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and recognized the opportunity to teach Air Force JROTC.
“I wanted to teach it before, but I had to run the family business,” Stargell said. “I saw a great opportunity to make a difference in these scholars’ lives. They will be the next generation to run our country. Our program is a cadet run, cadet led program.”
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, AFJROTC – like many extracurriculars – completed many of its programs virtually. That reduced the membership, but Stargell thinks the membership can go back to the regular level of 200 members with recruiting – both at the high school, and the district’s middle school campuses.
Performing at Country Day On The Hill
The AFJROTC is scheduled to perform at Country Day on The Hill Parade on October 9 in Cedar Hill. They will also take periodic “Curriculum in Action” field trips, including one to Houston where they will visit the NASA Johnson Space Center and the Houston Holocaust Museum.
Stargell said scholars and parents should know that JROTC “is not a pipeline for military recruitment” but instead a program that “develops citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community.”
“The program teaches scholars skills they can use in life – leadership, communication, teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking and time management,” Stargell said. “Some of our scholars might join the military, but it’s not the purpose of the program.”
A Career In The Air Force
Both Stargell and Master Sergeant Dannion McClendon have 27 years of experience in the Air Force.
Although born in Iowa, Stargell attended middle school and high school in Livingston – located 70 miles north of Houston.
He joined the Air Force after graduating from Livingston High in 1986 and was stationed at Altus Air Force Base in western Oklahoma. He originally thought he’d serve for four years and then work in the private sector.
Instead, Stargell made a career out of the Air Force, having served in Europe, Central America and the Middle East.
On September 11, 2001, Stargell was stationed at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama for Officer Training. The Airmen were going through a training exercise, which was immediately halted when they learned of the tragic events of September 11.
Stargell taught three years of ROTC at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Unlike JROTC, ROTC (which is taught at the university level) is a military officer training program.
Stargell served a year on a NATO Training Mission in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2010. Part of his assignment was ensuring that NATO Forces had the ability to communicate while stationed in Afghanistan.
“Serving in Afghanistan was a very eye opening experience,” Stargell said. “It was the best year of my career. The two decades prior to leading up to that point prepared me for it.”