Ansbach JROTC holds military ball

The Junior ROTC Cougar Battalion of Ansbach High School celebrated their 30th annual military ball at the Orangerie in downtown Ansbach April 3. The ball program featured many military traditions, including a receiving line, the separate table set for the fallen Soldier, the posting of the colors followed by a rendition of the American national anthem, a toast, a grog ceremony and a cake-cutting.

Col. Christopher M. Benson, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach and guest speaker at the ball, talked about how the JROTC program is designed to teach high school students a variety of values, including leadership, diversity, character development, and engaging in civic and social concerns in the community. He emphasized how important it is to volunteer and give something back to the community.

"No matter what path you choose to take in life, I hope you never lose that spirit of engagement, involvement and volunteerism," said Benson during his address. "It's the difference between a nice community and a great community."

The 9th Junior ROTC Battalion has earned the Honor Unit with Distinction Insignia (the highest JROTC unit award, also known as "gold star") every year since 2004; with 122 cadets enrolled – or 59 percent of the high school students – the cadet command minimum of 10 percent has been surpassed many times. Participation is the highest percentage of any Department of Defense Dependent School.

In the course of the evening, the cadet command honored the members of the successful rifle team, who made first place in their regional conference and third place in the DoDDs Europe championship, and bid farewell to 32 seniors who will graduate this June.