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H. L. Hunley JROTC Award - Warner Robins High School

The H.L. Hunley JROTC Award is awarded to cadets of the United States Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) who have demonstrated strong corps values, honor, courage and commitment to their unit during the school year. The award, which consists of a medal, a ribbon, and a certificate, is typically awarded annually to one rising second year cadet.

The award of the Hunley medal is meant to honor or reward cadets who have shown the core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment, as did the ill-fated crew of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley. The H. L. Hunley made naval history off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, on February 17, 1864, when it became the first submarine to sink an opposing vessel in combat. The crew of the submarine was lost in action, and it is the spirit of this selfless sacrifice that the award draws its theme. While the award does have a strong naval theme, it is suitable for award to cadets of other branches due to the fact that the commander of the Hunley, Lt. George E. Dixon, was a serving Army officer. The actions of this crew were later honored by some U.S. Navy ships, including the USS Hunley (AS-31) and USS Dixon (AS-37), being named in honor of the submarine and its commander.

Two previous crews of the C.S.S. H.L. Hunley were lost in training and testing accidents, including its designer Horace Lawson Hunley. The vessel was recovered and restored for service again. It certainly took guts (Courage and Commitment) to volunteer for the next mission. As the men stood aboard a naval vessel in Charleston harbor at night, Lt. Dixon asked for seven volunteers to join him for another eight man crew. The Union armies surrounding Charleston in 1864 were lobbing mortar and cannon shells into the city filled with civilians as they had been for some time. They were more visible against the night sky. We believe that certainly added some motivation for the brave men who volunteered, including the mission commander Lt. George E. Dixon. Lt. Dixon had persuaded General Beauregard to allow him another chance to use the C.S.S. Hunley to break the blockade choking Charleston. The Hunley and her crew were lost that night after they made naval history by sinking the U.S.S. Housatonic. The lost ship was located in 1995 and recovered in 2000. The bodies of the crew were buried with official recognition in 2004 in Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery. Tens of thousands attended, including some 6000 reenactors and 4000 civilians in period dress. Color guards from all five branches of the U.S. armed forces---wearing modern uniforms---were also in the procession.

The restored and preserved H.L. Hunley is on display in Charleston as well as a replica on display at The Citadel.

L-R: Cadet 1st Lt. Aaron Spencer Fletcher; Commander Steve Scroggins; at Warner Robins High School April 25, 2013. 1st Lt. Fletcher is wearing his H.L. Hunley medal.
H.L. Hunley Award winner Cadet 1st Lt. Aaron Spencer Fletcher (left), Commander Steve Scroggins at Warner Robins High School April 25th.
L-R: Cadet 1st Lt. Aaron Spencer Fletcher; Commander Steve Scroggins; at Warner Robins High School April 25, 2013. 1st Lt. Fletcher is wearing his H.L. Hunley medal.

It was my great honor to represent the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the local Lt. James T. Woodward Camp #1399 at the JROTC Awards ceremony at Warner Robins High School April 25th to present the H.L. Hunley JROTC Award to Cadet 1st Lt. Fletcher. It was a treat to be on stage with numerous other patriotic and historic group representatives such as the D.A.R., S.A.R., M.O.W.W., Daedalians, V.F.W., American Legion, SUV and others, but mostly to witness the energy, enthusiasm and commitment of such a fine group of young people, the future leaders of our country. It was certainly a pleasure to meet Cadet 1st Lt. Aaron Fletcher and his parents. Special thanks to Lt. Colonel Barrett and to compatriot Tim Hawkins, and Trip Wilson (SCV Hunley Award Coordinator) for helping with arrangements.

Steve Scroggins
Commander, Lt. James T. Woodward Camp #1399
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Warner Robins, Georgia

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Lt. James T. Woodward Camp 1399 - Sons of Confederate Veterans - Warner Robins, Georgia
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