UNION — The Union County High School Yellow Jacket Battalion held its 11th Annual Military Ball at the Union National Guard Armory on March 8, 2014.
Welcoming the cadets in the receiving line were the Battalion Adjutant, C/CPT Detric Means, Mr. and Mrs. William Rochester, Col. (retitred) John Odell and Dr. Odell, Lt. Col. (Ret) and Mrs. Marion Black, Mr. and Mrs. Mickey Gist, Col. (retired) and Mrs. Bill Goodwin, Principal and Mrs. Floyd Lyles, Mr. and Mrs. Jantzen Childers, SSG and Mrs. Daniel Young, and the Battalion Commander C/LTC Michael Leigh and his date Kaelyn Thomas.
C/CPT Detric Means served as master of ceremony for the evening. C/CPL Kolby Riddle played Mess call on the trumpet. The invocation was provided by C/SFC Alex Childers. C/1LT Hailey Sherbert sang the National Anthem with violin accompaniment by C/SSG Gino Ferguson. C/CPL Darrian Jeter led the Cadet Creed. The Color Guard was commanded by C/1SG Andre Jeter, and consisted of C/SFC Ricky White, C/SSG Austin Keatley, and C/CPL Kolby Riddle.
The guest speaker, Mr. William Rochester, graduated from Union High School in 1967. He entered the University of South Carolina Union before transferring to USC Columbia. He graduated from USC in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education.
After graduation he enlisted in the US Navy. He volunteered for the Navy’s Nuclear Power Program and became qualified as a nuclear reactor operator on board the nuclear submarine USS Francis Scott Key SSBN 657 (Gold). Upon his honorable discharge from the Navy, he worked as a Quality Assurance Engineer at several nuclear plants. He retired in 2004, he and his wife moved back to Union in 2010.
In his speech Mr. Rochester spoke on what he referred to as “small town syndrome” meaning that people from a small town believe they cannot accomplish their goals in competition with people from big cities. He refuted this notion by giving many examples of successful South Carolinians from small towns. He spoke about the challenges in his successful Navy career; showing that a Union student with a “C” in geometry can still become a nuclear physicist. Mr. Rochester also complimented the cadets on being such an excellent group of young people, and stated that he does not worry about the future with us in charge.
Following a delicious dinner catered by Midway BBQ and served by a large group of parents, cadets and their dates danced the night away. The evening concluded with the singing “God Bless the U.S.A.” by C/CPL Tatiana Ferguson and C/CPL Shelby Summers sang “God Bless America.” C/1SG Andre Jeter offered the benediction.