A retired U.S. Marine Corps gunnery sergeant has been selected by Robert Smalls Middle School to lead its new military academy program, according to a Beaufort County School District news release today.
Since retiring from the Corps in 1995, Gunnery Sgt. Francisco Gamez has worked as a high school Naval Junior ROTC instructor in Houston, Miami, and for the past 12 years at Wade Hampton High School in Hampton County, the release said.
During his 20-year career in the Corps, Gamez was stationed at various locations around the world, from Parris Island and Camp Lejeune, N.C., to Korea, the Philippines and Japan. He participated in the U.S. military action in Panama in 1990, as well as in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm in 1990-1991.
The tremendous success of Battery Creek Highs JROTC and academic programs has generated energy for the new military academy at Robert Smalls Middle School, said superintendent Valerie Truesdale. The staffs at both schools are enthusiastic about their partnership with the Corps, and Im sure theyre excited about having Gunnery Sgt. Gamez come on board.
Aimed at developing leadership skills and personal discipline, the new academy will be a partnership involving the middle school and the nationally recognized JROTC program at Battery Creek High School, the release said. Any rising seventh- or eighth-grader in Beaufort County will be eligible to attend when the new school year begins in August, and more than 100 students are already enrolled.
The new academy will carry no additional costs for the school district, the release said, and the uniforms will be donated by community partners.