By Faith Miller
Lt. Colonel Malcolm Snell is in his fourth year of teaching the AFJROTC (Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) at Bloomingdale High School.
“It allows me to teach in a subject area I love and know. All told, I have been wearing the Air Force uniform for 42 years.” said Snell.
He began his journey in 1978 when he became an enlisted airman and had a job as an engineering assistant. His responsibilities included drawing construction plans for updates and new constructions at the bases where he was stationed, along with performing land surveys.
He also eventually worked as a project inspector for all constructions on the base. In 1988, Snell left active duty and joined the Air National Guard and was commissioned as an officer in 1989 while training in emergency management.
Due to the fact the Air National Guard is a one-weekend-a-month job, he took a civilian job as a teacher in Northern New York, teaching areas of architectural drafting, special education and technology.
Snell taught until 2005, when the Air National Guard activated him and he was put in charge of a ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction Response Team.’ He continued doing this until retiring in 2012 and becoming an AFJROTC teacher in North Carolina. He then proceeded to move to Florida and began teaching at Bloomingdale High School.
“This area is special because our goal is to help today’s youth to be citizens that we can all be proud of. We use the core values of the Air Force to accomplish this,” said Snell when describing why he believes the program is special.
Snell explained that the program is required to follow standards set by the Air Force, including dress and appearance guidelines, and that it uses the Air Force’s core values in its teaching. The values described include ‘Integrity First,’ ‘Service before Self’ and ‘Excellence in Everything.’
These values teach students to always strive to do the right thing in everything they do, to give back to the community and country and to never settle for mediocrity when doing anything.
Reflecting on his time teaching, he said that some of his favorite moments have always been when a student comes back to visit and thanks him for “being there, giving them the mentorship they needed or helping them realize their potential.”
To learn more about the AFJROTC program, call Bloomingdale High School at 744-8018.