Colonel John Rahe is the new Claremore Junior ROTC Commander.
“Claremore’s a great town, great people, great community, great staff, great administration,” Rahe said. “I feel so fortunate to be a Zebra and part of the team.”
Rahe retired from the Unites Staes Marines and after a year in the corporate world began looking for options to return back to Northeastern Oklahoma to be closer to family.
Rahe interviewed at Claremore Public Schools for the Junior ROTC instructor position.
“I actually said no initially.” he said. “It just kept eating at me. This is something I want to do to giveback a little bit. I’ve been given so much. I made the leap and became a Zebra.”
Rahe said his goals for the program include growing to program from the current 50 cadets to 100 cadets within the nest couple years.
“We want to grow the Junior ROTC,” he said. “It has a legacy of being fantastic. We want to make it better.”
Rahe said he also wants to provide greater variety for the cadets – like drones.
“ROTC is more than drill and colorguard,” he said. “It also touches into STEM.”
Rahe said drones relates to STEM and has an engineering aspect. Rahe said they are looking into a Federal Aviation Administration program that would certify cadets to conduct commercial drone flights.
“I’m here to help them reach their goals,” he said
Overall, Rahe said he wants the emphasis of the program to be around having fun.
“This is not the military,” he said. “Junior ROTC is not the military.”
Rahe said by making the program fun it will have an infectious nature for recruiting future cadets into the program.
“If you look at the foundation of what ROTC is, it’s citizenship, it’s leadership, it’s really a program that’s designed to be run by the leadership of the cadets,” he said.
Rahe said he can use his experience in leadership to help the cadets along in their leadership skills.
“There’s some folks that aren’t in football or band or choir – we’re a place they can go,” he said. “We’re a place where they can come and be successful.”
Rahe graduated with honors from Northeastern State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Science Education.
Rahe said his grandparents and parents were in the field of education.
“I almost felt like it was a calling,” he said. “I knew I wanted to come back to it.”
Rahe said he discovered the Marines while at NSU and called knowing he wanted to go to flight school.
“I flew harrier jets pretty much my entire career,” he said.
Rahe was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.
He was assigned to the VMA-513 “Nightmares” in Yuma, Arizona. Rahe served as the Director of Maintenance during his first Fleet tour.
In August 2000, Capt Rahe was transferred to VMAT-203 “Hawks” Cherry Point, NC where he served as an AV-8B Fleet Replacement Squadron Instructor Pilot and Director of Operations.
In 2003, he deployed with the 13th MEU SOC and flew combat missions in Operations IRAQI and ENDURING FREEDOM.
In 2005, He deployed as the AV-8B DET OIC and the Aviation Combat Element (ACE) Director of Maintenance for the 11th MEU SOC and flew combat missions in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
From November 2006 until May 2008, Rahe served as the executive officer, 22d MEU SOC Camp Lejeune, NC and supported Operations IRAQI and ENDURING FREEDOM.
From March 2009 to April 2011, LtCol Rahe served as Commanding Officer.
Rahe attended Top Level School (TLS) at National War College, Washington, D.C. receiving Distinguished Graduate honors and a Master of Science in National Security Strategy.
Rahe was assigned to the Pentagon, Joint Staff, J-3, National Military Command Center, where he served as Assistant Deputy Director for Operations and Presidential Nuclear Strike Advisor.
From May 2016 to May 2018, Rahe served as the Assistant Wing Commander, 2D Marine Aircraft Wing, Cherry Point, North Carolina.
Rahe has logged over 4,000 hours in USMC aircraft, with 3,460 mishap-free hours in the AV-8B. Rahe left the Corps as the high flight-time AV-8B pilot in the history of the Harrier Jump Jet.
His personal awards: two Legion of Merit Medals, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, two Air Medals (Strike/Flight), three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and numerous campaign and service medals.
John and Jennifer Rahe were married in December of 1988 and have three daughters, Brook, Faith, and Georgia, all residing in Oklahoma.
Rahe retired from the Marines and went to work at Meta Special Aerospace as the president and CEO.
From there he became a Claremore Zebra.
“I want to serve my community and my cadets,” he said. “I really mean that.”