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Missionary Minded

JROTC Cadet Defers College for Church Service Overseas

By Amy Morgan

 

Johnson High School senior Connor Throckmorton takes his call to serve others seriously. As a JHS PAL, he enjoyed mentoring elementary school students at Cibolo Green. “We build connection and show them that we’re not a teacher, but just a friend they can talk to,” he said. He credits his mother with instilling a strong desire to give back and be a role model to others. 

 

Connor comes from a military aviation background. His grandfather was a Colonel in the U.S. Army, flying Apache helicopters before he started his own Aspen helicopter business.  This beloved role-model taught Connor to steer the controls in the cockpit when he was still in elementary school. His father was an U.S. Army Apache repair technician, and Connor’s older brother currently serves in the same position at Fort Campbell. 

 

Connor joined JHS’s Army JROTC his freshman year and eventually oversaw 130 cadets as Battalion Commander. He planned the 9/11 and Veterans Day ceremonies and briefed visiting cadet command accreditation inspectors.

He created a program to increase recruitment by reinstating visits to Tex Hill and Tejeda Middle School to allow 8th graders to interview older students about their experiences prior to making their course selections. This practice was discontinued during the pandemic, which may have contributed to the recent decrease in JROTC participation at Johnson - a trend Connor worked to reverse.

 

Not surprisingly, Connor credits Retired Command Sargent Major Richard Sizer, who oversaw the color guard team on which he participated, as influencing his future career aspirations.  

 

One of Connor’s favorite JHS memories involves running the varsity Raider team-based obstacle course challenge his freshman year. Connor still performs PT exercises on the pull-up bars near JHS’s JROTC’s drill pad that he helped construct as part of his brother’s Eagle Scout qualification. 

 

Unlike many of his peers anticipating starting their college career, this month Connor will head out on a two-year mission for his LDS church to the country of Tonga located northeast of New Zealand. This spring he began learning the language, which sounds similar to Hawaiian. Although he’s spent some time with family friends from Tonga, location preference does not play a big factor in mission assignment, Connor said. His interest in and perceived success at learning a foreign language were the determining factors for the church’s decision committee to assign him to that far-away land. While the LDS church strongly encourages males to go on mission when they turn 18, in the end, Connor was pleased to make the commitment to the church in which he was born and raised. 

 

“The whole point of it is to help others, teaching the beliefs of our church, helping locals and building connections with people you would have never met before,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to get away from daily life and looking at things for personal gain.”

 

When he comes back, Connor hopes to earn an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point to study aerospace or mechanical engineering. His experiences will surely distinguish him from many of his peers. 

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