AFA Yeager Chapter Supports Annual Mountaineer Cadet Officer Leadership School

July 19, 2023

AFA’s Chuck Yeager Chapter in West Virginia provides awards and other support for AFJROTC units and the Mountaineer Cadet Officer Leadership School, which is in its 21st year of providing Cadets with an opportunity to test out their followership and leadership skills. The annual MCOLS was held from June 18-24 with the awards ceremony at Concord University, Athens, W.Va., on the last day.

Jim Hannam, the Yeager Chapter’s Treasurer and former AFA Vice Chairman of Aerospace Education, attended the awards ceremony and parade as part of the reviewing party. This year there were 220 Cadets from 19 schools in Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania who attended and completed the course. Sixteen AFJROTC instructors from the attending schools provided the cadre.

Maj. Phillip Suydam, the Senior Aerospace Science Instructor at Jefferson High School in Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., has organized and run MCOLS for the past 16 years. Suydam was the 2023 recipient of AFA’s West Virginia Teacher of the Year Award. 

Amidst the week’s activities, which included everything from military marching and rifle drills to survival training and American Flag Honors, Cadets received leadership development trainings. As part of this training, Victoria Yeager, Chuck Yeager’s wife, and Brig. Gen. John Teichert, USAF (Ret.) conducted an immersive session supported by the AFA Yeager Chapter and the West Virginia Humanities Council. Yeager talked about Chuck Yeager’s life and challenges becoming an ACE, while Teichert presented leadership lessons on servant leadership, character, and developing leaders. 

At the Awards Ceremony, the inaugural award of the Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager Leadership Award was presented to Cadet Sailor Eastman of Battlefield High School, Va., who best personified the leadership and innovative spirit displayed by the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound. Eastman was also the cadet group commander at MCOLS this year and is considering applying to both the Naval and Air Force Academies for admission.