Thursday, March 3, 2018, marked a historic occasion in the life of Richmond Senior High School’s Junior ROTC Raider Battalion as the newly minted shoulder-loop insignia was pinned onto the cadets. Affectionately known as the “unit crest,” this item is the symbol of a military organization and provides the rallying point that binds past members with present and future.
Retired Lt. Col. Jon Ring, the senior army instructor, explained that every unit in the U.S. Army has a distinctive unit insignia — unit crest — that the soldiers grow to identify with.
“When I look at any of the unit crests that I have worn, I am reminded of the unparalleled camaraderie built in those units,” Ring said. “I recall the hardships, deployments, exercises, and fun that was spent with brothers and sisters in arms.
“The crest that we pin on today is designed to do the same for members of this unit,” he continued. “The Raider Battalion has been here for 46 years and today is the first time that we have had anything on our uniform that tells others that ‘I am a Raider.’ This group of cadets is the first to wear the crest and you should take pride in that fact — you are now part of history.”
The shoulder-loop insignia was designed and submitted earlier this school year through 4th ROTC Brigade, U.S. Army Cadet Command, to the U.S. Army Institute for Heraldry. After some design reviews and coordination, the design for the crest and unit shoulder sleeve insignia (unit patches) were approved at the Department of the Army. The JROTC program then worked with a vendor to create the items.
Symbolism of the crest: The school colors are green and yellow. The Raider is the mascot of the school, signifying both athletic and academic strength. The ocean waves allude to the raiders, who were notorious for their antics on the high seas and feared amongst seagoing mariners. The telescopes, a common tool used to navigate the open seas, further highlights the mascot. The arm honors the community’s various working industries. The Book of Learning suggests the school’s commitment to higher knowledge. The torch is a symbol of truth and triumph.
“I had the honor of being the first cadet within the Raider Battalion to ever have the unit crest pinned on me,” said Cadet Command Sgt. Maj. Amya Garris.
As the senior enlisted cadet in the program, it was “very appropriate” to have the Garris be the first to wear the distinctive item, Ring said.
Each block was awarded the crest in separate ceremonies conducted in common areas of the school. Principal James Butler attended Bravo Company’s ceremony and addressed the company with his admiration for their conduct and discipline.