Army Honors Three JROTC Cadets Killed in Florida Shooting
Florida high-school student Peter Wang had the lifetime goal of attending the U.S. Military Academy in New York.
Wang’s life was cut short, however, when a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday.
Wang, a Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadet, was one of 17 students and faculty who were killed.
Two of the victims were coaches. One was a student who played trombone in the school band. Another proudly wore his ROTC uniform. Still another loved soccer. And most were so very young.
According to news reports, Wang died in his JROTC uniform while helping others escape from 19-year-old shooter Nikolas Cruz, a former JROTC member.
West Point posthumously admitted Wang to the Class of 2025 for his heroic actions, according to an academy statement.
“It was an appropriate way for USMA to honor this brave young man,” the statement said. “West Point has given posthumous offers of admissions in very rare instances for those candidates or potential candidates whose actions exemplified the tenets of duty, honor and country.”
The 15-year-old was one of three JROTC cadets who died during the shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Cadets Alaina Petty, 14, and Martin Duque, 13, were also killed.
All three cadets are being honored with JROTC Heroism Medals, a spokesman for Army Cadet Command told Army Times.
Wang was buried Tuesday in uniform, at his family’s request, and the JROTC Heroism Medal was on his uniform, said Lt. Col. Christopher Belcher, spokesman for Army Cadet Command. A second medal was given to the family as a keepsake, he said.
A medal was presented to Petty’s family at her service Monday morning.
On Saturday, Duque’s family will receive the medal at his service.
The medal is awarded to cadets who perform an act of heroism, one that is “so exceptional and outstanding that it clearly sets the individual apart from fellow students or from other persons in similar circumstances,” according to the criteria for the award.
A White House petition for Wang to receive a full-honors military burial was created on Friday, and as of Tuesday it had more than 64,000 of the 100,000 signatures needed to be viewed by the White House.
According to a tweet from Florida Gov. Rick Scott, he directed the Florida National Guard to attend the funeral services for the three fallen cadets.
Scott tweeted that the Guard members “will be attending funeral services and paying respect to these JROTC members, their families and loved ones.”