Fourth Robertsdale High ROTC cadet receives high honor

RHS NJROTC Commander Frank Starr presents Cadet Ashlynn Simmons with her award.
RHS NJROTC Commander Frank Starr presents Cadet Ashlynn Simmons with her award.

ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — For the fourth year in a row, a Robertsdale High School Naval Junior ROTC cadet has received the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement, the highest honor a Navy Junior ROTC cadet can earn.

Cadet Ashlynn Simmons was surprised during pre-game ceremonies Friday night, Aug. 27 at J.D. Sellars Stadium in Robertsdale.

Only two are handed out each year in Area 8, which includes 49 schools and over 5,000 cadets from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and the Florida panhandle.

“Basically of the eight awards handed out over the last four years, four of them have gone to one of our cadets,” said RHS NJROTC Commander Frank Starr. “That is a very impressive feat to say the least.”

Cadet Keanan Ard was the first recipient from RHS to receive the award in 2018, followed by Cadet William Gage Doty in 2019 and Cadet Aidan Johnston in 2020.

Provided by the Legion of Valor of the United States of America Inc., an organization made up solely of recipients of the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross and the Air Force Cross, the award is given to just two cadets from each of the NJROTC’s 11 districts nationally each year. To be eligible for the Legion of Valor’s Medal of Honor, nominees must:

  • Be a member of the junior class and enrolled in his/her third year of NJROTC.
  • Have an NJROTC class standing within the top 25 percent.
  • Have a school academic standing in the top 25 percent of the junior classs.
  • Have demonstrated outstanding military leadership qualities.

According to NJROTC regulations, nominees are recommended to their respective Area Manager who can select only two cadets per year.

Simmons is ranked No. 1 in her class and carries a GPA of 4.47. She currently serves as the Battalion Executive Officer responsible for the daily requirements of 170 cadets. She previously served as the Battalion supply Officer responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars of government uniforms, textbooks, equipment, and property.

Simmons is a member of the school’s National Honor Society, the Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society, and the National Society of High School Scholars. She has twice been named class president, is the varsity golf team’s captain, and was a member of the varsity volleyball team for the past three years.

Simmons attended the Alabama Girls State leadership program this summer where she was elected Sergeant At Arms for the House of Representatives and is a graduate of NJROTC’s Leadership Academy, the premiere leadership training within the program. She is heavily involved in community service, accumulating nearly 1,000 hours in the past four years, and she is also an excellent marksman on the NJROTC air rifle team and an integral member of its academic teams.

“She is a humble leader who challenges her fellow cadets, her uniform is always impeccable, and her resume is that of an outstanding cadet in an outstanding unit,” Starr said. “Clearly she has been instrumental in the success of her program.”