BAY MINETTE — Brig. Gen. Leslie A. Maher, commander of the Jeanne M. Holm Center, recently stopped by Baldwin County High School to meet with the AFJROTC program. While here, she participated in a mission briefing presented by leadership cadets and hosted a Commander’s Call with the entire corps of cadets.
The visit began with a tour of the BCHS campus and an in-brief with Principal Craig Smith, followed by the mission briefing presented by the school’s senior cadets. The briefing covered topics such as academics and uniforms grades, community service events, fundraisers and recruiting. During the presentation the cadets were presented with very challenging questions from the General and had very candid conversations about what it’s like to be in the AFJROTC program and their plans and goals for the future.
Following the presentation, Maher hosted an AFJROTC Commanders Call with the Corps of Cadets. Her message to the corps was to take advantage of any and all opportunities and to be a lifelong learner. She gave an example of a time when she tried to assist one her troops in a applying for a very competitive and “tough” assignment to get, and through those efforts, she was selected for an assignment to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was dedication to “life-long” learning and the pursuit of seemingly small opportunities that has continuously opened doors for her, she recounted.
Following some very stout questions from the cadets, which were all met with great enthusiasm and energy, Maher recognized Cadets Wyatt Gilliam and Ashton Smith for their leadership and dedication to the AFJROTC program. Gilliam is the current AFJROTC cadet commander, has served as the Flying Team commander, Flight commander, and Flight sergeant.
Smith is the former cadet commander, and is currently performing the unit self-assessment, has served as a Flight commander, Drill Team commander, was a member of the shooting team, and has 119 hours of community service since joining AFJROTC as a freshman.
Maher is the commander for the Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development at Maxwell Air Force Base. As the Air Force’s largest officer accessor source, Maher leads more than 3,300 airmen, training 120,000 cadets at 2,085 global locations. The command includes 15,000 cadets at 1,200 colleges and universities nationwide for Air Force ROTC, 3,500 cadets in Air Force Officer Training Schools at Maxwell AFB, and more than 101,000 cadets in 885 high schools globally supporting Air Force Junior ROTC. The Holm Center produces more than 85-percent of the Air Force’s frontline officers, chaplains, judge advocates and medical officers.
Prior to her current assignment, Maher served as the commander, 375th Air Mobility Wing, Scott AFB, in Illinois and later as senior military assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force, Headquarters Air Force, the Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia.
Jamie Barnes is a retired major with the U.S. Air Force who currently serves with the Air Force Jr. ROTC Flying Tigers at Baldwin County High School.