Home Community Marroquin Siblings Make Lasting Impression on CHS JROTC Program

    Marroquin Siblings Make Lasting Impression on CHS JROTC Program

    CARROLLTON, GA – Building a legacy takes time, but once it’s established, a legacy can make a significant impact on individuals as well as organizations. This is the case with the Marroquin siblings, three Carrollton High School Air Force JROTC cadets who have made a lasting impression on the program.

    A Marroquin cadet has been a staple in JROTC Unit 20061 for the past decade, setting a high standard for loyalty and service, said Sgt. Marvin Cox, who retired as one of the school’s Air Force Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps instructors last year. But the Marroquin tenure comes to an end this month when the youngest, Melissa, graduates.

    “I joined the program with no thought, to be honest, because my brothers were active members,” said Melissa. “It just seemed natural. My brothers definitely played a big part in my decision to join.”

    Cox said Alex, the oldest, had always been motivated to enlist in the military and excelled in AFJROTC from the beginning. “He held many leadership positions and was a big influence on his brother and sister,” he said. As a result, Edwin came next, then Melissa followed in the footsteps of her big brothers.

    “I could go on and on talking about the Marroquins, but there are two areas where they especially made an impact,” said Cox. “First was Summer Leadership School, a program designed to teach cadets how to be good leaders and followers. All of them attended and excelled and brought back to the program valuable leadership skills. Second, our unit’s drill team.  Alex and Edwin commanded several award-winning teams at most drill meets.  Melissa also was a valuable asset to the team during her time in the program.” 

    Both Alex and Edwin joined the U.S. Army National Guard once they graduated high school – Alex in 2014 and Edwin in 2017. Both joined as infantrymen and experienced deployments. Alex is now a sergeant and is a National Guard recruiter serving Carrollton and the surrounding area. Edwin is a specialist and is working a part-time job while waiting to begin college.

    “I’ve always known I wanted to be in the military since 9/11 which happened when I was about six years old,” said Alex, who visited his alma mater May 12 to attend a military signing ceremony for 19 CHS seniors, including eight who joined the Guard. Four of those in the Guard have been awarded ROTC scholarships. Alex was largely involved in the recruitment efforts.

    On Instagram, Alex posted this about the ceremony: “I can’t stop saying how proud I am of these individuals for stepping up and getting after it. It’s been a privilege working with these future leaders and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them. Congratulations again, soldiers. Keep pushing toward your goals!”

    Alex credits the guidance of now-retired instructors Maj. Sylvester Hendrix and Cox for steering him in the right direction. “They gave me amazing insight into their own experiences and what leadership really means.”

    Alex notes JROTC is not a recruiting tool for the military, but a study in leadership. “Major Hendrix and Sgt. Cox would be quick to tell you maybe less than 2 percent of cadets actually go into the military, but the rest can apply the leadership tenets in whatever fields they choose,” said Alex.

    As Melissa prepares for her next steps, military service is not in her future just yet, even though she signed up for the Guard in January 2020 and headed to basic training last summer.

    “I endured a very difficult cycle with COVID-19 and did not finish training,” she said. “I also decided that I wanted to broaden my experience more before I decided to join the military again, so I asked to be discharged.” Melissa instead will attend the University of West Georgia to major in English education.

    But despite the events of 2020, Melissa doesn’t regret what JROTC has done for her. “Serving from 2017 to 2021 as a AFJROTC cadet has been the most rewarding experience of my life,” she said. “I had learned so much more about discipline and leadership. The friendships, the hardships, the challenges, and memories I have had over the years are irreplaceable. Apart from being able to spend time with my fellow cadets, being under the wing of Major David Conley (current lead instructor) was also rewarding. His timeless one-liners and dedication to the program make him my idol and hero. 

    “As the Group Commander of AFJROTC, the biggest lesson I have learned is that your title and rank do not mean anything,” continued Melissa. “It is the wonderful fellowship around me that gave me the ability to influence and be a leader.”

    Cox noted that at first Melissa was hesitant to join the corps. “But once she joined she quickly made her presence felt,” he said. “The last year and half has been tough for JROTC like all students and organizations, but Melissa was one of the few cadets who hung in there to help us get through this tough time.” 

    Melissa’s perseverance likely contributed to her receiving recently the Daughters of the American Revolution Junior ROTC Award, presented annually to a Junior ROTC student who as demonstrated academic excellence, dependability, good character, adherence to military discipline, leadership and a fundamental and patriotic understanding of the importance of the ROTC.

    Hendrix, who retired in 2017, is proud of Melissa and her brothers and the impact they’ve made on the program – and themselves.

    “The Marroquins created a legacy of leadership and dedication within the JROTC program at CHS,” said Hendrix. “Alex set the example for his siblings Edwin and Melissa and they followed without fail. Additionally, they had the support of their parents (Rene Marroquin and Gabriela Rabadan) and other family members. It was my honor and privilege to have had them in the program during my tenure.  They indeed  are prepared to have successful careers. I salute them.”