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August 8--  Two former Army non-commissioned officers will lead the Army Junior ROTC program serving four school systems in the Vidalia area this school term.

The two career noncoms, First Sergeant Yusvf Brantley and Command Sergeant Major David Draughn, are excited about the opportunties the program will offer students.


We caught up with First Sergeant Brantley (L) and CSM Draughn sorting supplies at Vidalia High School.

CSM Draughn has already met with students and says he told them, "The moment you signed up for this course, you became part of something bigger than you.  It's no longer what the individual does or fails to do, it's what the Corps of Cadets does or fails to do.  Everything you do or fail to do reflects on the Corps of Cadets.  I had some pretty strange looks on that one, but they'll learn." 

Both NCO's have had years of experience leading young people and CSM Draughn says he's never been disappointed.

"I believe very strongly in the youth of America.  I think one of the highest forms of praise I ever heard was when the Army crossed into Iraq and the soldiers were getting into some pretty tough stuff.  Some of the embedded reporters on TV were amazed and said 'Where do we get these people?'  They come from places like Vidalia and Dobson, NC where I'm from and places like that.  Those kids have never disappointed me in a long time.  It's takes leadership and proper attitude to do that, but they'll do great things and I believe very strongly they'll do that at Vidalia," he says.

Officials say 170 students have enrolled in the first class of JROTC ever to be offered in this area.