Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps JROTC
Thunderbolt Battalion
1sstt Semester SY13-14
15 December 2013
Celebrating 25 Years
Growing Future
Leaders and
Responsible Citizens
Cranston High School East JROTC
Volume 6, Number 1
Compliments to Cadet Captain Amber Rastella and all those Cadets who
participated in the production of another superb Thunderbolt JROTC newsletter.
Cranston Cadets set the standard in all of US Arm y JROTC when it comes to
fulfilling this CCR 145-8-3 program mandate. Great job, once again!
It’s clear when reading this edition of the Thunderbolt how very busy the young
men and women taking JROTC at Cranston East are. As you read, keep this in
mind; this newsletter focuses only on the extra-curricular portion of JROTC. It
doesn’t delve into the 26 hours of weekly classroom instruction Cadets receive in
six units of instruction ranging from Unit 1 Citizenship in Action, to Unit 6 Citizenship
in American History and Government. Your Cadets face a swift paced tempo both
in and outside the classroom all the way from day one of the school year through
the JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge (summer leadership camp) which begins
In This Issue:
• Cadet News
• Cadet Profiles
• Cadets of the Month
after school ends. They are Cranston High School East JROTC Strong!
John E. Murray
Lieutenant Colonel, Aviation, USA (R)
Senior Army Instructor (SAI)
• Team Updates
Fellow Cadets,
W hat makes the Thunderbolt Battalion the best JROTC unit in any high school?
Proceed to the
Departments Tab and then
The work and dedication that we Cadets put into our jobs. As your Battalion
Commander, it’s important for me that I both live up to the high standards sets by
former Thunderbolt Commanders, as well as distinguishing m yself as a Leader.
Leadership and teamwork are two key ingredients to success, and I plan on fulfilling
my leadership responsibility. The school year so far has been going greatly due to
Cranston East JROTC
Senior Army Instructor:
LTC (R) John E. Murray
Army Instructor:
SGM (R) Gerald Thifault
Cranston High School East
JROTC Program
899 Park Avenue
Cranston, RI 02910
(401) 270-8469
(401) 270-8511 Fax
the high level of underclassmen leadership we have in the Battalion, and I am
extremely proud of all the hard work and dedication. Let’s all continue to work to
make this a successful and rewarding year!
Cassidy Mills
Cadet / Lieutenant Colonel
Thunderbolt Battalion Commander (13-14)
Page 1
In The News
Cadets add formality to Cranston Mayoral Inauguration
By: Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Camila Molina
Battalion Commander
C/LTC Cassidy Mills
When the City’s Mayor
asks you to participate in
his inauguration
ceremony, you know that
the Chief Executive
Officer of the city
appreciates who you are
and what you represent.
Beginning his third term in
office, Mayor Allan Fung
once again asked Cranston
JROTC Cadets to help add
additional formality to the evening. The Cadets performed their inaugural
duties with professionalism and confidence. And while it was their honor to
support their city and mayor, they know very well the level of respect their
efforts help bring to Cranston East.
Climbing Mountains to Train Leaders
By: Blue Team Leader, C/ 2LT Allie Simas
Below: A group of Cranston Cadets begin the final push to the Mt. Monadnock summit.
HQ Commander
C/CPT Kenneth Irizzary
A Company Commander
C/CPT Adam Habershaw
“Mt. Monadnock is not a
field trip; it is a training
event where Cadets apply
the leadership skills they
have learned in Unit 2
curriculum, Leadership
Theory and Application”, so
says the SAI. We Cadets on
the other hand see it as a
field trip; in fact it’s the one
we look forward to the most.
This year I was assigned as
Blue Team leader and given
the task of leading the expedition through the ascent phase of the climb. I
quickly realized in order to lead my group of Cadets, I had to overcome my
own physical and mental challenges and somehow motivate my team. In
doing so, I learned a very important lesson; to be an effective leader, you
have to lead by example, and sometimes that’s harder than you think. This
was really my first time being put in a real world leadership situation. I
made mistakes, but this expedition helped me learn from them.
Page 2
American Legion Boy’s and Girl’s State, CHSE JROTC’s Division
I Championship
By: C/ CPT Robert Polion (RI Boys State Member 2013)
B Company Commander
C/CPT Robert Polion
Battalion Staff
Why does Cranston East JROTC Cadets
compete so aggressively for American Legion
Boy’s and Girl’s State slots? Because it’s an
amazing leadership experience that provides
aspiring young leaders an opportunity to work
with and learn from other high school students
from across the state about our government.
Over the last five years, Cranston High School East JROTC has had no less
than 15 Cadets selected to attend this highly competitive resident program
held at Roger Williams University. “Fifteen Cadets in five tears; that’s a
significant accomplishment for our school, district, and city.” said LTC (R)
Murray. “Few, if any other Army JROTC programs, have achieved this type
of success in Boys and Girls State in such a short period.” he added.
As if selection isn’t enough, historically Cranston Cadets have been
selected by their Boys and Girls State peers to hold key leadership position
such as President of the Senate, Sergeant at Arms, and Governor. Cranston
Cadets who were selected to attend last June include Kenny Irizarry, Coral
Verduguez, Joseannaly Espanol, Robert Polion, and Caroline Urena.
Running to Support Park View Middle School and The
Wounded Warrior Project
By: C/ CPT John Lawson, S6
Executive Officer (XO)
C/MAJ Coral Verduguez
Adjutant (S1)
C/CPT Jack Rocchio
It’s a good possibility that
if you are a JROTC Cadet
at Cranston H. S. East
you either went to Hugh
B. Bain or Park View
Middle schools. Wanting
to give back to those
schools is in our blood.
On this Veterans Day,
twenty JROTC Cadets
volunteered to participate
in the first ever Park
View Middle School 5K;
a fund raising event for both the school and the Wounded Warrior Project. I
am Cadet Captain John Lawson and I was a member the team that ran the
race. It was a test of physical, mental, and emotional strength, but all Cadets
faced the challenge head on in order to support our wounded veterans and
former school.
Page 3
Supporting the Rhode Island VA Medical Center
By: Lead Planner C/CPT Adam Habershaw
Security & Safety Officer
C/2LT Alyssa Tetreault
Operations Officer (S3)
C/MAJ Carlos Vasquez
Every year around Veterans Day
Cranston East JROTC is asked to
conduct a flag folding ceremony at
the Rhode Island VA Medical
Center in Providence. This year, I was given the responsibility of being the
lead planner for the event. I never thought that it was going to be as difficult
as it turned out to be. The first day of planning my team and I sat down to
discuss how we were going to attack this mission. You might say that I used
the participating style of leadership rather than directive or delegating styles
because I didn’t have all the answers. I have to say that our plan was thrown
out several times, changing daily as we discovered it needed modification.
One of the things that we learned during this planning process was that
indentifying all the “implied” tasks was critical to success. When we finally
had developed a plan that would work, the hard part had finally arrived and
we had to execute. I divided the class into two groups of Cadets, those who
would be present and retire the colors and those who would conduct a flag
folding ceremony. I, myself provided the narration. We ran into problems
immediately when Cadets informed me that they could not attend the field
trip. Some of this happened at the eleventh hour. However, we worked
everything out and it turned out to be a great ceremony. The people at the
VA hospital were very happy that it went so well and appreciated the
involvement of JROTC. This planning process was a journey filled with the
challenges of being a leader. I’m happy that I faced them head on and I
know this experience has made me made a better Cadet.
CCAP Food Drive Focuses on Helping Others
By: Lead Planner C/MAJ Carlos Vasquez
Below: Members of 2nd Squad, 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company assist with transferring donated food to
the Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP)
Asst. Operations Officer
C/CPT Eric Mickelson
Cranston East JROTC
continues to have a
strong partnership with
the Cranston
Community Action
Program (CCAP). Once
again, Cadets planned
and managed a month
long food drive before
the Thanksgiving
holiday to help fellow
Cranstonians with their
nutritional needs.
Leadership is not only about commanding individuals and teams; it’s also
about being pro-active problem solvers, as well as giving back to your
community. This annual service learning project provides Cadets a chance to
Page 4
Public Affairs Officer
C/CPT Amber Rastella
both manage a complex project as well as a chance to show how they can
handle a situation under pressure. The senior Cadets primarily responsible
for planning, coordinating, and executing this year’s food drive were
Natashia Silvestre, Jack Rocchio, Cassidy Mills, and Carlos Vasquez. As the
lead planner of one the biggest service events of the year, I had to apply
many of the leadership skills, I have learned throughout my Junior ROTC
experience. With the help of my team members and many weeks of
preparation, we were able to execute and accomplish a three week mission
successfully. Although there were many problems that arose during the
execution of the food drive, my fellow team mates were able to devise
solutions quickly and efficiently.
In class, the Director of Social Services at CCAP briefed the LET 4 class
on all the services CCAP provides to the community. She stated that with
each and every food item donated, CCAP could divert some money from
their limited federal budget to other social programs such as their home fuel
oil assistance program. Overall, our main goal was to improve upon last
year’s food totals. With the generosity of the Cranston East student body we
achieved our goal by acquiring nearly 1,800 non-perishable food items.
Dissecting Cranston East JROTC Leadership Labs
By: C/CPT Jack Rocchio, Adjutant
Below: JROTC Cadets conduct Physical Training (PT) during the October Leadership Lab
Information Operations
Officer (S6)
C/CPT John Lawson
During most high
school lab sessions,
student are either
creating chemical
concoctions or
dissecting various
creatures. The
JROTC program
brings an entirely
new meaning to the
term ‘lab’, as our monthly ‘Leadership Labs’ offer far more than is
traditional in schools. These monthly Labs allow our Cadets the chance to
exhibit their personal ability to lead and direct other Cadets. As ours is a
merit-based organization, the more ability and experience Cadets show, the
higher of a command they are appointed to. Cadets are offered many
opportunities to bring credit to themselves in these positions, but Leadership
Labs are where they can truly stand out from their peers. The simple act of
showing up early on Wednesday mornings, before the Sun has even risen
above the horizon, shows the commitment and responsibility of our Cadets,
and affirms their desire to succeed and bring merit to our battalion. Some of
our peers refer to us as mentally defunct for doing so, but they only prove
their ignorance of the pride we have in ourselves and our program, and
strengthen our desire to excel.
Page 5
Junior Reserve
Officer Training
Working to Motivate
young men and
women to become
better citizens and
Cadets Front & Center
Matthew Pion
I am Cadet 2nd LT Matt Pion. I am currently in
grade 10, LET 2 student at Cranston East. In
CHSE JROTC I am a member of the Color
Guard, Raider Team and Leadership Team. I
am also a member of the Cranston East swim
team. The events I swim for the teams are 100
yard butterfly, 500 yard freestyle and the 100
yard I.M. I love to exercise and challenge
myself. I always try to present a good physical
appearance and get good grades in school.
After high school I want to go to college
where I can study to be an environmentalist or
an architect.
Samantha Rastella
I am Cadet PFC Samantha Rastella and I’m in
the 10th grade and a LET 2 Cadet. I am on
the Drill Team, but also wish to join Raiders
and Honor Guard. Im the future I plan on
attending Massachusetts College of Liberal
Arts to major in education in mathematics and
a minor in psychology. My interests range
from academics like math and science, to
outdoor activities such as soccer, volleyball,
and of course hanging out with friends. I do
make it a first priority to maintain good grades
in all of my subjects.
Yu-ying Lin
I am Cadet Yu-ying “Joey” Lin. I am currently
a LET 3 Cadet in the 11th grade. I am an
Assistant in the S5 Public Affairs section.
More specifically, I’m the first ever JROTC
Liaison Officer to the CHSE Yearbook
Committee. My future goal is to become a
successful international business
representative. The JROTC teams that I’m
currently a member of include the Drill and
Honor Guard Teams. Outside of JROTC I am
also a member of the Yearbook Committee and
Page 6
Team Schedules
Cadets of the Month
Cadet of the Month
Academic /
Leadership Teams
November 4 – 8
Level 1 Competition
Color Guard Team
*Currently performs
at all home Football
Games and requested
community & school
Drill Team
November 9th, 2013
Hope High School
Providence, RI
November 16 , 2013
Coventry Drill Meet
Coventry, RI
December 14 , 2013
LaSalle Drill Meet
Troy, NY
January 6th, 2014
Rogers High School
Newport, RI
February 1st, 2014
Springfield Drill Meet
Springfield, MA
JROTC Achievement
Khari Mitchell
Cadet of the Month September
(For Exceptional Leadership Demonstrated on Mt. Monadnock)
My name is Cadet Corporal Khari Mitchell
and I am a junior at Cranston High School
East and a LET 3 Cadet. I enjoy hanging out
with friends, playing basketball, and drawing.
After high school, I plan on leaving Rhode
Island to attend college in order to earn a
degree in Athletic Training and become a
Physical Therapist for injured professional
athletes. I joined JROTC because Colonel
Murray had visited my school and told us
how it would make us better leaders. I also
felt that JROTC would be a great program for
me to participate in because I would actually be involved in something once
I had started high school. My thoughts on winning Cadet of the month? I
was so shocked! I honestly didn’t think I would be chosen because there
were other Cadets who I felt deserved this. However, I am happy to know I
made Colonel Murray, SGM Thifault, and the Battalion proud.
Camila Molina
Cadet of the Month October
(For Exceptional Leadership Demonstrated during Library Service Project)
My name is Cadet Second Lieutenant Camilla
Molina. I feel that being a part of JROTC has
brought great memories that I will always
cherish when I look back at my high school
experience. All of my close friends are also a
part of this program, and together we enjoy
many of the great things JROTC has to offer
such as, community service, Raider Team and
Drill Team. Currently, I am a Platoon Leader
and the Commander of the Armed Drill Team.
I’m also a member of the Providence Police
Explorers. Being in these two programs has
developed my leadership skills which will help me to achieve my future goal
of working in Law Enforcement. As a LET 2 sophomore I can say that being
a part of this battalion has and will continue to bring great opportunities for
Page 7
Natashia Silvestre
Raider Team
Practices start on
January 24th, and
continues every
Marksmanship Team
Cadet of the Month November
(For Exceptional Leadership Demonstrated during the CCAP Food Drive)
I am Cadet Sergeant Natashia Silvestre, a
senior cadet in Cranston High School East.
I have been in Jrotc for two years. In Jrotc I
helped conduct an annual food drive. My
duty was to create a chart in order to stay on
track of all the other cadets’ inventory. In
the future I hope to move to Arizona and
pursue a career in the Border Patrol.
November 18, 2013
Ozarko Postal
November 19, 2013
Blueridge Postal
November 21, 2013
Fighting Rams Postal
Taylor Josephson
Cadet of the Month December
(For Exceptional Leadership Demonstrated as a Platoon Sergeant)
I am C/PFC Taylor Josephson, December’s
Cadet of the Month. I am in the ninth and this
is my first year in the JROTC program. I am
Platoon Sergeant for 1st Platoon, Alpha
Company. I hope to continue to show great
leadership, and to be a responsible figure in
the freshman class. I will try my hardest to be
the best Platoon Sergeant I can possibly be,
and will always get the job taken care of. I am
really honored and proud to be December’s
Cadet of the Month, and will always wear my
ribbon and medal and pride.
Rhode Island National Guard JROTC Warrior Challenge April 2014
“Eye of the Tiger”
“Cranston East JROTC Will Be Ready”
Page 8
Thank You!
The Corps of Cadets
sends a special thank
you to Mr. Howard
Chun (Science Dept),
Mr. William Romanais
(Science Dept), Miss
Allison Rosener (URI
Nursing Student),
Miss Katie Murray
(URI Nursing
Student), and former
Cadet Andrew Pion
for chaperoning the
Mt. Monadnock
expedition. Without
their selfless service
the mountain trip
could not happen.
Its hard work
chaperoning JROTC
Cadets; aspiring nurses
Katie and Allie try to
recover on the bus ride
home from the
mountain. Mr. Chun and
Mr. Romanais are asleep
across the isle.
Blasts From the Past
(Former Battalion Commanders continue their leadership by returning to
help guide the Drill Team)
Yarmayn Rodriguez
Battalion Commander SY 08-09
Yarmayn is a former battalion commander and drill team captain for the
class of 2009. He is currently a senior at
Bryant University majoring in accounting, and
a member of the Bryant ROTC Corps of
Cadets. Also, Yarmayn is a member of A
Company, 1/182 Infantry of the Rhode Island
Army National Guard and is an Airborne
qualified soldier. Upon graduating from
Bryant in 2014 and receiving his commission
as 2nd Lieutenant, Yarmayn plans to pursue a
graduate degree. He credits Army JROTC at
Cranston East as a major reason for his
success and achievement.
Sovattana Eang
Battalion Commander SY 10-11
Sovattana is a former Thunderbolt battalion
commander and drill team captain for the
class of 2011. He is a second year student at
the Community College of Rhode Island
studying computer science. Sovattana is
transferring to the University of Rhode Island
where he will remain a fulltime student. He
had dedicated numerous hours sharing his
expertise in drill and is a major reason for the
drill team turn around.
Page 9
Team Updates
By: C/LTC Cassidy Mills (Team Captain)
Congratulations to
Cadet Isabel Pabon.
In just two drill
meets, Isabel has
won 3 individual
IDR medals
Congratulations to
Qi Wen Chen. She
has earned 2 IDR
medals in just two
The Cranston Drill Team is back on track for the 2013-2014 School Year
with a renewed focus and we are making our presence known where and
when we compete. To date, the team has participated in the Hope High
School Invitational Drill Meet sponsored by the New England Drill League
and the Coventry High School meet within our own Southern New England
Drill League. The Thunderbolt Drill Team finished the Hope Drill Meet
with a 2nd place finish in Unarmed Inspection, 3rd place in Unarmed
Regulation, and 5th place in New Cadets. At Coventry High School, the
team placed 2nd in Unarmed Inspection and 2nd in Unarmed regulation. In
addition to this year’s team accomplishments, numerous Cranston Cadets
have distinguished themselves by winning medals in unarmed and armed
IDR. Notable standouts are Isabel Pabon, Qi Wen Chen, Eric Mickelson,
Amber Rastella, Vanessa Vargas, and Yu-Ying “Joey” Lin.
This year, Battalion Commander Cassidy Mills holds the position of
Team Captain and commands Unarmed and Armed inspection. Along with
Cassidy, Cadet Robert Polion commands the Armed Color Guard, while
junior Cadet Amber Rastella and sophomore Cadet Camila Molina command
the unarmed and armed regulation teams respectfully.
Sadly, the team will miss the LaSalle Academy drill meet in Troy, New
York due to funding shortfalls. Nevertheless, we will be back on the attack
at Rogers High School in Newport, RI in January.
Page 10
Color Guard
By: C/CPT Eric Mickelson (Team Captain)
Allie Simas & Bianca
Unarmed Regulation
Rob Polion & Eric
Mickelson, Armed
Color Guard
My Name is Cadet Captain Eric Mickelson and I am the Cranston East
JROTC Color Guard Captain. We are some of the most well trained Cadets
in this Battalion. We take our job seriously and get the job done right each
and every time we present our Nation’s colors. The team participates in
school functions, such as Freshman Orientation, and presents the colors for
our home football games. Also, we are invited to important events inside of
the state including: Senator Reed’s Annual May Breakfast, Veteran’s Day
ceremonies, the Cranston Hall of Fame Dinner, and much more. We work
hard to master our craft and perform at a top level to show the discipline it
takes to be a part of the Cranston East JROTC Color Guard.
Academic/Leadership Team
By: C/1LT Amanda Fraielli
Ruizdael LopezCastillo and & Yu
Ying Lin, Armed
This year the leadership team worked under the leadership of Cadet
Allison Simas as team captain. The team was also comprised of Michael
Tavares, Ana Hernandez, Lorraine Guerra, George Valerio, and Camila
Molina. The team did their best to pass round one on November sixth and is
eagerly awaiting the news of whether or not they have passed on to round
two. If the leadership passes on they will be the first leadership team in the
Thunderbolt battalion who has passed on to round two in many years.
This year’s academic team took the round one test November fifth
and did better than the teams of the previous year; however the team has not
heard if they passed round one. The academic team of the 2013-2014 School
Year worked under the leadership of cadet Amanda Fraielli as team captain.
The team did exceptionally well with the help of Cadet Samantha Rastella,
Chanda Uy, Minette Vargas, Kevin Solitro and Thea Vargas.
Page 11
By: C/2LT Alexander Silva
The JROTC Air Rifle Marksmanship season has recently began again
and is off to a great start. This past summer, the range has been repainted,
cleaned up, and turned into an environment where we Cadets can practice
and compete. This year, the team has three platoons, with at least eight
cadets firing. This is overseen by SGM Thifault; just given control of the
team this past summer from LTC Murray. We will be competing in three
postal competitions this year including Ozarko Postal, Blueridge Postal, and
Fighting Rams Postal.
Congratulations to
Cadet Eric
Mickelson for his
excellence in IDR
Cranston East Raiders
“Lead the Way”
Carlos “The Rock”
Vasquez, Armed &
Regulation, Armed
Color Guard
Page 12

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