Hello and Welcome to Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), unit UT-20171
My name is Lt Col (retired) Denise Harris and I am the Senior Aerospace Science Instructor (SASI) for the Wasatch HS Air Force JROTC unit. I became the SASI in Aug 2019 and have loved every minute of it so far. The unit stood up in the fall of 2017. We currently have 74 cadets in the corps for Fall 2020.
My family and I have lived in Heber since August 2015 and love calling this beautiful place home. I grew up outside Rochester NY in the town of Henrietta. After graduating from Our Lady of Mercy (all girl Catholic HS), I headed to Penn State University on a full Air Force ROTC scholarship. I did many exciting things in the cadet corps and got my commission as a 2Lt after graduating with a BS in Applied Mathematics in May 1991. I met my husband Tim, who was also a cadet and we married in 1993. We enjoyed several assignments together and finally retired from the Air Force in August 2014 (and August 2015 for my husband), each of us with almost 23 years on active duty.
My career field was Space and Missile Operations (no, I wasn't an astronaut...but I met a few!). I worked command and control of military communication satellites, satellite requirements and development, missile defense systems, satellite tracking and surveillance, nuclear missile operations, nuclear missile and warhead upgrades, space professional development requirements, and National Security policy development. Throughout my career, I have been an operator, instructor, evaluator, commander and scheduler....and have led as few as two airmen to as many as 170. We have been stationed in Colorado Springs (twice), Vandenberg AFB in Lompoc CA (twice), Los Angeles AFB CA, FE Warren AFB in Cheyenne WY and ended our careers outside Washington DC at the National Reconnaissance Office.
Tim and I have two children. Our son Cody graduated from Wasatch HS in 2017 and is currently an Air Force ROTC cadet at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Our daughter Meg is a sophomore at Wasatch and fellow JROTC cadet! I love to be outside hiking, camping, and skiing (Tim is a ski patroller at Park City....we like skiing!). I also have a creative side and like scrapbooking, crafting and taking photographs.
We loved serving our country. The Air Force gave us many opportunities, not just in our careers, but also in our everyday lives. We have traveled all over the US and the world (either for work or for fun, esp visiting other AF friends); we have flown in jet and transport planes, we have jumped out of perfectly good airplanes, we have met military celebrities (like Buzz Aldrin) and Hollywood ones (like Dwayne Johnson), we have watched giant rockets launch multi-million dollar payloads to orbit and we have even been extras in a movie! Most of all, have met so many wonderful people that we now call family....part of our AF Family. We learned so much from the Air Force and now I get the chance to pay it back by being a JROTC instructor. I love what JROTC stands for and what opportunities it can provide high school students.
Please look thru this page to learn more about AF JROTC, its purpose and how it is organized. I only teach AFJROTC. Each AFJROTC class includes class on Aerospace Science (AS), Leadership Education (LE) and Physical Training (PT).
I use Canvas to post what we do each week in class, put a lot of information cadets will need to know. Here is my Canvas link: https://wasatch.instructure.com/courses/28659
Parents, if you want to observe your student's Canvas classes, here is how you do it: https://www.wasatch.edu/domain/2173
Contact me with any questions, concerns or issues. I look forward to meeting you in the classroom!!
Lt Col Denise Harris, USAF (ret)