WEST ORANGE, NJ — The award-winning West Orange High School (WOHS) Air Force JROTC program has much to celebrate as this unique school year comes to a close, as the Mountaineer Squadron recently received the 2019-2020 Distinguished Unit Award and several senior cadets will be entering military academies and programs.

On May 6, WOHS received the news that the Mountaineer Squadron achieved the Distinguished Unit Award for the fourth consecutive year, recognizing the personal growth and accomplishments of the cadets, contributions of the instructors as mentors and the West Orange community.

This award specifically recognizes Air Force JROTC units that have performed above and beyond normal expectations, and that have distinguished themselves through outstanding service to their school and community while meeting the Air Force JROTC citizen development mission for America.

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The Mountaineer Squadron's Major Joseph Marchesini (AF-Ret.) also announced that the following senior cadets will be entering military academies and programs: 

  • Elijah Millington will be attending the Naval Academy.
  • Jonathan Roberson will be attending West Point Preparatory School.
  • Maya Tobin was awarded an Air Force ROTC scholarship and will be attending American University.
  • Cade Lipsey was awarded an Army ROTC scholarship and will be attending Syracuse University.
  • Richard Dutan and James Petrucelli have enlisted in the Marines.
  • Wilfredo Ardon has enlisted in the Army.

The following WOHS seniors will be also be entering various branches of the military:

  • Juan Aguilar
  • Aaron Carneiro
  • Mike Ortiz
  • Ryan Tiernan
  • Kevin Vargas

This year's 2020 Air Force JROTC National Honor Society Inductees for WOHS include: 

  • Nathaniel Vinoya
  • Stephany Andrade
  • Kevin Bolen
  • Yamilee Chavez
  • Austin Cowley
  • Royson Folas
  • Bowie Lee
  • Lucio Maffei
  • Katie McCluskey 
  • Elijah Millington
  • Emily Morales-Medina
  • Karin Palomino

Four former Mountaineer Squadron members are graduating from college and commissioning as lieutenants in the armed forces as follows:

  • Justice Rooney (Rutgers) will be commissioning in the US Army;
  • Marshall Lipsey (Syracuse) will be commissioning in the US Army;
  • Valerie Giovine (PennState) will be commissioning into the Air Force; and 
  • Jasmyn Lettman (Rutgers) will be commissioning into the Air Force.

Marchesini urged the community to recognize that Christopher "CJ" Morgan, a WOHS Class of 2015 graduate who died during a training exercise in June 2019, would have been graduating from West Point and commissioning into the US Army this year as well.