Posted Date: 07/07/2020
COPPERAS COVE, TX (July 6, 2020)—Copperas Cove High School JROTC senior instructor Chief Warrant Officer 3 (retired) Enrique Herrera was honored for his efforts to keep our nation’s military strong by General Paul E. Funk, II, Commanding General, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, just prior to the holiday celebrating the country’s independence.
Herrera has not only built the 6A high school’s JROTC program in to a top 10 percent powerhouse battalion since joining the CCISD staff in 2001, but he has also prepared thousands of young men and women to enter the armed services as their preferred career choice. Funk presented an award to Herrera thanking him for his recruitment efforts.
“He has the most important job in the Army,” said Funk as he gestured to Herrera. “Exposing young men and women to the military way of life is vital. I am a product of JROTC.”
Nearly 10 percent of Cove’s 2020 graduating class entered the armed forces or attended one of the U.S. military academies or institutions. The CCHS Class of 2020 had graduates accepted to prep schools of both West Point and the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Shay Haver, West Point graduate who become the Army’s first female ranger, is a former JROTC Cadet Commander under Herrera’s leadership. Today, Haver commands Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division.
“I am excited to get out of bed every morning knowing I get to go and work with cadets,” Herrera said. “It really is the best job in the world.”
Copperas Cove continues to funnel men and women into the armed services under Herrera’s leadership. Copperas Cove ranks number seven nationally in a Defense Department list of the top 25 communities from which 17- to 24-year-olds joined the military.
While Herrera does encourage military service, he ensures that graduates understand clearly the magnitude of their commitment if they choose to join the armed forces.
“I always tell my kids, and this is one thing I really stress, if you are going to join the military…and if you are joining for any other reason than the defense of your country, then you are joining for the wrong reason,” Herrera said. “In your heart, if you are not doing it for the right reasons, you are going to be miserable.”
Prior to his arrival, CCHS JROTC maintained no extracurricular teams except a color guard and a marksmanship team. The enrollment numbers averaged 160 cadets per year. Herrera raised funds to build a rappel tower, rope bridge and obstacle course on the high school campus. He also established a viable physical fitness program enabling students to focus on passing the U. S. Army physical training requirements. Enrollment numbers of cadets skyrocketed to 315. The school district now limits enrollment, but JROTC consistently enrolls 265-275 cadets annually under Herrera’s instruction.