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New JROTC instructor brings years of experience to AHS

New JROTC instructor brings years of experience to AHS
Posted on 06/03/2019
Major Russell Newbill thought he was retired. After serving 24 years in the U.S. Military in various positions and multiple deployments, Newbill packed up his uniform and retired on September 30, 2018. Not even a year passed, though, before things changed. He heard about Arlington High School getting its own Junior ROTC program and jumped at the opportunity to be its leader.

“I just knew I wanted to be a part of it, so I started making calls to see how I could help start this program from the ground floor,” he said.

Newbill started his military career in 1993 after enlisting in the Tennessee Army National Guard and later graduated the Officer Candidate School in 1998. Over the years, he served in many positions, including combat medic, Platoon Leader for the 268th and 269th Military Police Companies, an intelligence analyst for the Drug Enforcement Administration, among other duties.

Newbill also served in several tours in Iraq, garnering many decorations like the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Overall, Major Newbill’s record includes more than 30 military awards and decorations.

“Once I joined the military, I saw the comradery and the structure and discipline it teaches you,” he explained. “I have years of experience to bring back to students in Arlington and help them better themselves as citizens and individuals.”

And that ideal – building a better citizen – is at the core of the JROTC program. Though the program isn’t a recruiting tool for the military nor does it require service after high school, it does drill down on many of the values found in the military, like leadership and discipline.

“We’re going to teach them what it means to be a valuable member in the community,” Newbill added. “We’ll get them into uniform and out volunteering at things like Veterans Day events and community reading programs.”

It can also be a way for students to knock out personal finance and lifetime wellness credits. They'll also learn about geography and economics.

“The JROTC will teach them the ‘can-do attitude,’” Newbill said. “They’ll come to realize that nothing is unattainable. If you put your mind to it, put your discipline to it and put your heart into it, the sky is the limit…and that’s what JROTC is all about.”

The AHS Tiger Battalion JROTC will begin its first year this fall. Already, the program has more than 100 students enrolled.