Teenagers from SHS prepare for the military

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Some of the students of SHS marching in the center. They participated in the parade Veteraons Day in November. Photo by Madison Smith

Madison Smith, Jaela Johnson, Madison Gomez, Oluwatoyin Awosanya

You may have heard of Southport Armed Forces Cadets (SAFC) through someone who is a part of the group, through our posters around the school, or perhaps your read an article about SAFC in the Southside Times.

Junior Faith Avila says “one of my friends suggested the group to me, and I took an interest in it” about why she joined SAFC. Faith is the Training Officer and has been a part of SAFC since her freshman year.

SAFC is an afterschool military program that teaches leadership skills, life skills, safety skills, and navigational skills. SAFC also teaches military knowledge such as the phonetic alphabet, Military/Zulu times, and the ranks of the different branches of the military.

“I joined SAFC because on the poster it says ‘leadership’ and I wanted to be a leader,” sophomore Vicky Pai said. Vicky is an Assistant Squad Leader and joined SAFC her freshman year.

There are many leadership positions within SAFC. The ranks are Training Officer, Platoon Leader,  Platoon Sergeant, Squad Leaders, Assistant Squad Leaders, Senior Chaplain, Assistant Chaplain, and Medical Officer.  Every position changes with each new semester, so there are opportunities to explore different areas of leadership.

Members of SAFC learn how to properly handle and shoot rifles and handguns.  SAFC teaches combatives/pressure points, military commands, military core values, first-aid, responsibility, respect, etc.

“I have learned what commands like ‘At ease!’ means and how to march when we march in parades,” middle schooler Haley Strunk.

You can see the SAFC cadets at football and basketball games, other special events at SHS, and local parades in the Southport area.  SAFC was extremely honored  to perform Color Guard and demonstrate a narrated flag folding for veterans at a Greenwood nursing home this past Memorial Day.  The veterans were very moved and enjoyed this special presentation in their honor.

Sophomore David Lian says his favorite part of SAFC is doing Color and Honor Guard and PT. PT means physical training, for you civilians.

Another event that SAFC was very honored to attend and take part in was the return of the Indy Honor Flight for veterans of the Korean War and WW1. Cadets presented and assisted the veterans as they entered the gym filled with hundreds of their cheering friends and family. This was an extremely moving and spectacular celebration.

Recently, another event that SAFC had the pleasure of participating in was the Indy Veterans Day Parade downtown on Veterans Day.  Perhaps you attended the SHS Homecoming Parade on September 25th. If so, then you saw SAFC leading the parade behind Indianapolis Fire Engine 26. Or maybe after the parade, you attended the Southport vs. Franklin Central football game. If so, then you saw SAFC perform yet again.

Freshman Mackaleigh Forbes, who is the Senior Chaplain, says “The group is like a family. Its really great and you get to learn about stuff like the ‘Lost Battalion’ and do events like parades.”