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ROTC affirms tradition in command change

By Ken McLemore/Hope Public Schools, 04/13/21 1:11 PM
Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Senior Aerospace Instructor Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.)
Mark Hart, top, accepts the Hope High School AFJROTC unit banner from outgoing unit commander
Cadet Major Joshua Johnson and, bottom, incoming unit commander Cadet Second Lieutenant
Margauxsoul MacLaughlin assumes command by receiving the unit banner. The traditional Change of
Command ceremony marks the formal transition of unit authority within the corps of cadets at HHS. – Ken McLemore/Hope Public Schools
HOPE –The Hope High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Corps Group AR-20101
affirmed a military tradition which dates to the 18th Century in Change of Command ceremonies
at HHS recently.
Senior Aerospace Science Instructor Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Mark Hart presided as Cadet
Major Joshua Johnson relinquished command of the unit to Cadet 2ndLieutenant Margauxsoul
The traditional Change of Command dates to Frederick the Great of Prussia and signifies the
formal passage of authority within a military unit by the relinquishment and assumption of unit
colors, Lt. Col. Hart explained.
“When a change of command was to take place, the flag was passed to the individual assuming
command,” he said. “This gesture was accomplished in front of the entire unit so all could see
and witness their new leader assuming their dutiful position.”
With the statement, “Sir, I relinquish command,” CMajor Johnson surrendered the group
standard to Lt. Col. Hart upon publication of the order for change of command.
Hart presented the standard to C2nd Lt. MacLaughlin, who assumed formal responsibility,
authority and accountability for the group with the statement, “Sir, I assume command.”
Hart commended Johnson’s leadership of the unit.
“From the moment I met you, you have carried yourself in a manner which exhibits exceptional
character and continual self-improvement,” he said. “Your growth has been amazing.”
Hart observed the famous declaration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. regarding measuring one by
character as his summation of Johnson’s leadership.
“Josh, I can think of no finer example of Dr. King’s man of character than you,” Hart said.
MacLaughlin represents what is best about dedication, he said.
“Masie, you have dedicated yourself to JROTC,” Hart said. “Every time the door is open, you
are there. You have grown as well. You have been involved in a variety of activities which have
improved your leadership skills.”
The ceremony was first adopted in the United States by the Continental Army of the United
States, and has evolved to its present form from those roots. The ceremony allows cadets to
understand the significance of command responsibility and to build “esprit-de-corps” within the
cadet group. Johnson called upon that tradition in his farewell address to the unit.
“I’m going to miss you all,” he said. “When I first joined, I didn’t know what to expect. The more I
got involved, the more it grew on me. I can’t thank you enough; you are like my other family.”
MacLauglin offered her thanks for the confidence placed in her to lead.
“This program has changed me in so many ways,” she said. “I learned to be a leader, I have
become more responsible, and I am now a much better citizen. During my time in ROTC, I
started helping out in the community so much more. I’ve gained new experiences, met new
people and, most importantly, I became closer to the people in this unit and they became my
second family.”
MacLaughlin said showcasing the opportunities ROTC offers will be a priority for her command.
“My goal as your new corps commander is to continue developing our cadet corps and continue
recruiting more students to be cadets,” she said.