WEST ORANGE, NJ — When the West Orange High School Jr. Air Force ROTC held its Veterans Day Ceremony on Nov. 4 at Conforti Circle to recognize members of the military for their service, the students were presented with a special recognition, as well.
Capt. Robert Murphy of the 1-150th Aviator Helicopter Battalion, who recently returned from a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, presented WOHS Principal Hayden Moore with an American flag flown during a Sept. 15 Black Hawk mission. A certificate describing the mission was also presented. Mountaineer cadets Christian Silba, Joshua Vinoya, Chase Garguilo and Michael Giovine raised the flag. Giovine, along with fellow cadet and sister Valerie, are seniors at WOHS and cousins of Murphy.
ROTC cadet Gabrielle Petrucelli served as spokesperson for the ROTC, welcoming guests and students. Superintendent Jeff Rutzky and Major Joseph Marchesini, retired USAF and commander of the WOHS Jr. AFROTC, were also on hand for the ceremony.
“The cadets of the Air Force Junior ROTC program were honored to once again lead the high school’s annual tribute to our nation’s veterans,” Marchesini said in a release. “Planning, organizing and executing the ceremony has become an annual rite of passage for one of our up-and-coming second-year cadets. This year sophomore cadet Gabrielle Petrucelli took the lead and did a great job.
“We would like to thank U.S. Army National Guard Capt. Rob Murphy for taking the time to participate and for presenting a flag he flew over Kosovo during his latest deployment,” Marchesini added. “As always, it is a privilege to serve in a town, school district and high school that places such great value on the sacrifices made by our military veterans.”