MOULTRIE, Ga. - When retired Lt. Col. Jason Perdew was looking for a place to teach ROTC, he had never heard of Colquitt County, Ga.
“I applied to half a dozen different schools, Colquitt County being one of them. I had to get wife approval of course,” Perdew laughed. “We looked it up and saw it was a great area and a great school.”
After “a couple of interviews” with then-Colquitt County High School Principal Jamie Dixon, Perdew was preparing for the move to Moultrie.
Perdew is originally from Fort Dodge, Iowa. After graduating from a high school in southern Colorado, he attended Iowa State University with a Navy ROTC scholarship with a Marine option. After graduating ISU in 1990, he was commissioned as a Marine officer. This would jump off an almost 28-year career with the Marine Corps.
During that time he and his family would spend four tours overseas. His career would take him and his family to Japan, Korea and Bahrain.
“I like to take the family overseas. We did four tours as a family,” Perdew stated in an interview a couple weeks before the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.
Perdew met his wife, Jessica, while they were both on active duty stationed in Okinawa, Japan. She would later leave the Marines and they married in 1994.
“The great thing about my wife is she has done everything. Everywhere we have gone, she has been able to find a job doing just about anything. Her primary job is a financial advisor,” said Perdew.
Perdew’s Military Occupation Speciality was a “CommO,” which in civilian terms simply means a communication officer. When he first joined the Marines, his job was entirely based on radios.
“As technology advanced we became computer specialists. So not only did I do radios but I did computer networks… Part of my job was to be the communications planner. I would plan out all the communications for the unit I was stationed with,” Perdew said.
After retiring in February 2018, he became a certified ROTC instructor through the Marine Corps. His first job was at the M.C. Perry High School at the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Japan. M.C. Perry High School is a Department of Defense Education Activity, which is a collection of schools worldwide that support military dependents.
“Even though I was retired, I consider this last position in Japan as my fifth and final tour.”
While overseas, Perdew’s children: William, Ashley, Abigail, Ethan and Andrew were educated at DoDEA schools. Abigail is currently a lieutenant in the Marine Corps and preparing to attend law school to become a Marine Corps JAG officer. Andrew is currently a “plebe” — a first-year midshipman at the Naval Academy. The youngest of the Perdews, Ethan, is beginning his first year at Colquitt County at C.A. Gray Junior High School.
Going forward Perdew hopes to keep the longstanding legacy the CCHS JROTC program has created.
“I want to keep that legacy and keep it going. I think I’m going to bring a new perspective, especially when it comes to the technology side. My time in the Marine Corps was as a network specialist. I’ve always been a technology guy. [Lt. Col. Paul] Nagy had started the Cyberpatriot Team here that was pretty successful,” Perdew said.
A cyberpatriot team is described by the U.S. Army JROTC website as a “competition that puts teams of high school and middle school students in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company.”
Perdew coached two cyberpatriot teams while at M.C. Perry and he hopes to expand the high school’s program as well as introduce it into lower grade levels.
“It’s something that I’m very passionate about. It’s a program that teaches students to be cyber defenders. They are in charge of creating and defending these programs... Everything is about cyber now. That kind of skill can transform a kid’s ability to be successful later in life. Whether they plan to go into the military or not. ROTC is not just about the military, it’s also about creating helpful members of society.”
Perdew further stated that CCHS was high on his priority list of potential schools due to the fact the cyberpatriot team had already been established.
“When I went to the school’s website, the first picture I saw was the cyberpatriot team and I knew it was a program I wanted to be a part of,” said Perdew.
He also hopes to install a Raider Competition Team. These are athletic competitions that take place outdoors. According to Perdew they generally consist of individual and team events such push-ups, tire drag, obstacle course, three mile team run, and rope bridge construction.
“This is a big enough school, I should be able to put together a raider team… I tried to start one at my last school but it just wasn’t big enough. I also have to find competitions to go to. Georgia is the center of the challenge as they host the national competition here in Molena. I just have to reach out to other schools to find out when they do competitions,” Perdew stated.
Going forward, Perdew plans to continue the excellence that the CCHS JROTC program has been known for such as their rifle and drill team.
“There is much that I want to bring to the school and its kids. I want the program to grow and continue to instill the values of the program as it has done in the past,” Perdew said. “We have planted our roots here in Colquitt County. We have no plans on leaving here any time soon.”