ALTON - The Alton High School AFJRTOC performed a Change of Command Ceremony on Tuesday night with Cadet Colonel James Paris relinquishing his command and Cadet Colonel James Mason now in command of the Illinois-981.

Katie RosenbeckCadet Colonel Malson ended the evening with a rousing speech. Malson is also a Cadet 2nd Lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol’s 286th Composite Squadron and a private first class in the Illinois Army National Guard.

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James Green, the grandfather of James Paris, said he was quite proud of the group for what they had done to return to action. The group was deactivated on April 1, 2022, but after the assistance of master sergeant Katie Rosenbeck and the cadets themselves, the program came back alive this fall and now is going strong.

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AHS Principal Mike Bellm said the new commander Malson is very deserving and will do a great job. He also praised master sergeant Rosenbeck for her leadership and the cadets themselves for what they have done this semester.

“The Junior ROTC program is great for us to be able to offer,” Principal Bellm said. “It hits a section of our students and really gives them something to buy into. That is what we are all about in our school system. The Junior ROTC does a lot of community service and always helps us around the school. We can rely on them for almost anything and they are so positive. It is a tremendous program that gives us a lot of pride to have them here.”

Rosenbeck has been the group's instructor since it resumed and has done outstanding work. She has 20-plus years of military experience with a diverse medical administration and human resource management background.

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