The official student news site of Norristown Area High School

The Wingspan

The official student news site of Norristown Area High School

The Wingspan

The official student news site of Norristown Area High School

The Wingspan

Major Carter Brings Experience and Inspiration to JRTOC

Maci Jordan
Major Carter has become an invaluable member of the NAHS community.

In the hallowed halls of Norristown Area High School, you will often find dedicated educators who bring their unique life experiences to the classroom. Each of their experiences provides guidance and aids in students’ growth. One such inspiring figure is Major Bernard Carter, a retired military veteran who has transitioned from a distinguished career in the Army to become an invaluable teacher in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program. Major Carter’s journey is a testament to the power of mentorship, leadership, and a deep commitment to shaping the next generation.

Major Carter’s story is one of service that spans decades. Carter and his wife originally wanted to become youth pastors after he earned his theology degree. In 2001, he began his military career. He looked at his options, discovering that each branch had its own core. But only the Army gained his heart. 

“The Marines are too small, the Air Force is too soft. We call it the cheer force,” he said with a chuckle. “I wanted a challenge. I wanted the whole thing. I wanted to be with smart people in great shape who had great values.” 

After basic training, Major Carter was assigned as a chemical officer in the special forces even though he didn’t meet the requirements. “I didn’t have to qualify because I was already doing it,” he commented. In addition, he became an Acolyte and a combat diver. He was the only chemical officer in the Army who was qualified as a combat diver. His dedication to the principles of integrity, duty, and honor not only earned him numerous accolades during his time in the Army.

His time in the Army was not without strife, however. One of the most agonizing memories he carries is the day he lost a comrade. His friend and captain Mike joined the direct action team and went to Iraq. While he was engaged in a fierce fight with the Iraqi forces, one of them dropped a grenade and left. Although the explosion itself did not kill him, Mike was disoriented and then shot. 

“The ‘Ballad of the green berets’ is a song that they play at the funeral of any green berets that passes away and when I heard it in his I was done with it. I never wanted to sing it again,” Carter said.

After a decorated military career, Major Carter faced an essential moment in his life: retirement. However, his commitment to service did not waver. Recognizing the potential to inspire and mold young people’s minds, he decided to transition into teaching JROTC, a move that allowed him to continue his mission of service.

Major Carter works with the JROTC on a cool autumn morning. (Maci Jordan)

Major Carter’s classroom is a place of inspiration and discipline. He brings his wealth of knowledge and experiences to the students, instilling in them the values and skills he acquired throughout his military journey. Through engaging lessons and hands-on training, he guides his cadets in understanding the importance of leadership, teamwork, and personal responsibility. He teaches his lessons not only in English but also in Spanish due to the fact that half of his cadets are Spanish speakers. “Major is one of the best teachers in the whole school,” said Julio Garcia, a student of JROTC.

“I think that JROTC is one of the best-kept secrets in high school,” Carter said. “All of those that we talk about in the creed [loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage] are essential to people who become good citizens. You want your neighbors to be honest, to not lie, not cheat, you know, you want them to be good citizens and all of that so it helps you in everything”

Major Carter’s impact extends far beyond the classroom. His mentorship has helped countless students. “He gives good guidance,” said Gabriela Estrada, another JROTC cadet. Cadets and ex-cadets always look for his advice because of his experience “ I think that what it ends to happen is that in high school you’re at a point where you know that the real world is coming and I think that a lot of times that point where you’re most confused about what to do and where to go you need people who are willing to point you in a direction that gives you long term success not just temporarily satisfaction,” he said.

Major Carter’s transition from a distinguished military career to teaching in JROTC is a testament to his enduring commitment to service and leadership. His life experiences and dedication to shaping the next generation of leaders have left an indelible mark on countless students. In a world that constantly seeks role models, Major Carter stands as an exemplar of a life dedicated to duty, honor, and the betterment of others. His story serves as a reminder of the impact that one individual can have on the lives of many, and the importance of teaching the leaders of tomorrow.

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About the Contributor
Adanahi Hernandez
Adanahi Hernandez, Staff Writer
Adanahi is a proud Nicaraguan and senior of NAHS who loves singing, writing and reading. She is also a passionate soccer team member, combining her artistic and athletic interest with enthusiasm and skill. She loves hot coffee and Ruben Dario's poems.

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  • K

    KingstonMar 15, 2024 at 8:16 am

    “chair force” because they sit all day. Not cheer force