Florida Prep Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Unit Continues To Make History
By Space Coast Daily // March 31, 2017
Registration for the program is currently open
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – In 1964 Florida Air Academy (now Florida Preparatory Academy) formally established an Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training unit (AFJROTC) FL-032 on its campus.
It was one of only 161 units established in the country that year under the ROTC Vitalization Act. On Friday March 24, Florida Prep was honored for this act, receiving a “Founding Unit” streamer and certification from AFJROTC Command.
“The world was a totally different place back in 1964,” says current unit commander retired Lt. Col. Dean Fitzgerald.
“The Vietnam War was just beginning and the 1960’s revolution was at its height. John F. Kennedy had been assassinated the previous year, and the Project Mercury space program captivated the Academy with several rocket launches from nearby Kennedy Space Center.
“The mood in the country was not always favorable to the military, yet Florida Air Academy (FAA) experienced significant growth in 1964, cumulating in the opening of a new academic building and science lab. The school’s model, based upon the recently established Air Force Academy in Colorado, was a hit with young men, and their parents, from numerous countries around the world.”
Over the years, FAA Unit FL-032 has grown to become one of the top 100 AFJROTC units in the USA, having won the Distinguished Unit award numerous times, along with the award for Community Excellence.
In 2005, the unit added female cadets to its cadre, and in 2015 a change in name to Florida Prep FL-032 was announced, reflecting FAA’s name change to Florida Preparatory Academy.
Along the way the unit has always stayed true to its mission to “Develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community.”
This coming academic year Florida Prep AFJROTC will once again move forward with an innovative program designed to capture the imagination of the local community. Homeschooled boys and girls in grades 9 through 12 will be accepted into the FL-032 unit and will be eligible for academic credit.
“It’s a first in the area and we are very excited to launch this opportunity to the homeschool community,” says Lt. Col. Fitzgerald.
“Homeschool students will be joining one of the premier units in the county, and will undertake the same classes and activities as their Florida Prep peers.”
Registration for the program is currently open. Admission will be via a short application and interview. Students interested in receiving further information should email Lt. Col. Fitzgerald at firstname.lastname@example.org
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