Overbay, Davis talk JROTC with Lions

Thursday, October 26, 2017
Master Sergeant Tony Davis (left) and Colonel Clarence Overbay, with the Trumann High School JROTC, were the guest speakers last Wednesday of the Trumann Lions Club. (DT Photo/Anthony Cossey)

Colonel Clarence Overbay and Master Sergeant Tony Davis of the Trumann JROTC were the guest speakers last Wednesday at the Trumann Lions Club.

Overbay, who is a native of Northeast Arkansas and Southeast Missouri, is a graduate of Greene County Tech High School and the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, where he obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry. After serving 25 years in the military, Overbay came back to work in the agri industry from 1976 to 1986. "I had a chance to come back full time with the Arkansas Army National Guard, where I served in several positions over the years," Overbay said. Overbay served at Battalion Commander of the 875th Engineer Company, Post Engineer at Camp Robinson, and was Assistant Chief of Staff of the Arkansas Army National Guard.

Overbay has five daughters. Four are graduates of Arkansas State University (ASU) and one is a graduate of Williams Baptist College (WBC). The youngest joined the ROTC satellite program that ASU offered to WBC. "She will be the first commissioned officer from that program as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Reserve," Overbay said. Overbay said she also has the option to go active duty and attend Baylor for her doctorate degree.

"It's great to be at Trumann and working with Master Sergeant Davis. Our careers have crossed several times in the past," Overbay said. Overbay said he wants the JROTC program to be community-involved and be of service to the city. "We are pushing for them to be the best they can be both physically and academically," Overbay said.

Overbay told the group that three teams recently competed in the ASU Howler competition, a seven mile course with 23 obstacles, with one team finishing fifth out of 74 teams. He also said a recent competition was held in Trumann with 27 schools and 36 teams competing. Overbay also told he group that a Marksmanship Program will start after the first of the year using .177 caliber pellet rifles. Camp Robinson will host a six day camp after the school year, and a challenge camp will be held at Heber Springs. "At the challenge camp, everything will be outdoors," Overbay said. Academic and leadership teams will be formed later this month with the academic team focused on the ACT and SAT tests while the leadership team will work on leadership skills.

Master Sergeant Tony Davis is a 1985 graduate of Trumann High School and participated in the JROTC all four years, graduating as the Battalion Commander. "It's such an honor to come back and teach the program that made me who I am today," Davis said.

Davis said most people think that JROTC is all about getting kids in the military when actually the mission is to help young people be better citizens, not soldiers. "But we do help those who want to be in the military," Davis said.

Davis said there are 83 kids in the program at this time. Ten percent of the number of kids from ninth through twelfth grade have to participate to have the program. Trumann has 450 kids in that grade range. "We usually have a few kids join in the second semester, so that number should increase. We want to keep growing. The more kids we have in JROTC, the bigger impact we can have on the school and the community," Davis said.

Community action projects is an area the program is involved in. Davis told the club that his kids help the Lions Club by putting out the flags on the days that are needed, they take care of the Purple Heart Monument at the city park, they help park cars at the home football games, and they present the colors before the games. "I've seen so much improvement from last year. We recently promoted 25 kids to various ranks. I see nothing but success for the program," Davis said.

Davis said the next two big events for the JROTC will the upcoming Veteran's Day program on Nov. 10 at the high school and the Military Ball in the spring.

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