The commander of the Air Force Junior ROTC at Monroe Area High School passed away suddenly last weekend.
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Arthur Eugene Rozier was 57. He had been the JROTC commander at MAHS for eight years.
Rozier suffered a hematoma over the weekend and did not recover at the hospital. He died Jan. 6.
Known to his friends as Art, he came to Monroe following a long career in the U.S. Air Force, serving in theaters around the world, including Okinawa, Japan, but family members said his teaching role at MAHS was his dream job.
Principal Bryan Hicks said the Junior ROTC program at Monroe Area became known as a Distinguished Unit with Merit twice during his tenure. The JROTC Riflery Group and the GHSA riflery team achieved state and national recognition, and individual team members earned all-state and top-10 national honors.
“With the passing of Lt. Col. Arthur Rozier, the faculty, staff and students have lost a true leader, teacher, mentor and friend,” Hicks said. “He was an invaluable asset to the school, serving as the Junior ROTC instructor, as a member of several committees and an integral part of the safety and security team at MAHS.
“As he and the unit participated in many functions and events, Lt. Col. Rozier was the face of Monroe Area and represented our school professionally and with honor and pride.”
While at MAHS, he not only oversaw the JROTC program, but also the school’s rifle team, a sport close to his heart, as he was one of the top-ranked pistol shooters in the Air Force for much of his career and continued to compete in marksmanship events along the East Coast.
Monroe Area teacher Chuck Bowling recalled Rozier as an “exceptional man.”
“He had the abilities of both a compassionate educator and an exemplary officer,” Bowling said. “He displayed on a daily basis the unimpeachable bearing that won him the respect and love from us all. This is a burdensome loss to endure and he will always have a place in our hearts.”
Athletic Director Eli Connell said Rozier helped build the rifle team into a championship-winning national power.
“He left a legacy of respect and class,” Connell said. “He will surely be missed by our students, staff and community.”
The family prepared a statement on Rozier to convey the loss felt by all his friends and loved ones.
“Lt. Col. Rozier was loved by his students as a mentor, a parent figure and a friend,” they wrote. “He would expect them to continue to strive to do their best in all their endeavors.”
Rozier was preceded in death by his parents, Walter Gray Rozier Jr. and Jean Campbell Rozier; and brothers, W. Gray Rozier III and Fred Campbell Rozier, all of Lumberton, North Carolina.
He is survived by his children, Laura Hawks, of Cumming, and Dylan and Brett Rozier, of Jensen Beach, Florida; and a brother, Joe Rozier, of Charleston, South Carolina.