Welcome to the Padre Battalion Webpage

Battalion Motto
"Unit Over Self, Prepared and Loyal"

We have included information that may be helpful to you and your family's understanding of the program, activities, curriculum, schedule, and course expectations.

Honor Unit with distinction continuously since 1992


The Marcos de Niza H.S. JROTC unit was established on August 1, 1979 through the combined efforts of Dr. Dave Meyer, Guidance Department Chair and the US Army Cadet Command. The General Order establishing this unit was GO # 8, dated May 3, 1978. The program opened with 80 cadets and was staffed by LTC (Ret) David Johnson and MSG (Ret) John Donnelly.

The Marcos de Niza High School JROTC was designated as the 1st Battalion of Infantry and is the only U.S. Army JROTC program in the Tempe Union High School District. The SY 86-87 program featured a satellite program with Tempe High School. That satellite program was eliminated in SY 89-90. The program averaged 120 cadets until 1988-1989 when enrollment reached 178 cadets including cadets from the six other high schools within the District. We were officially designated a Magnate Program in September 1998.

During the SY 82-83 Regional Formal Inspection, the unit achieved its first Honor Unit award; the first Honor Unit w/ Distinction award (HUD) was earned in SY 87-88. We have continued to earn Honor Unit with Distinction during subsequent tri-annual Formal Inspections ever since – most recently in SY 12-13.

The Marcos de Niza JROTC program sponsored a highly ranked Rifle Team during the 1990’s qualifying for the National Rifle Association’s National Tournament no less than five times during that decade. The Rifle Team continued its success by winning the San Diego Invitational in SY 02-03 repeating in SY 03-04 and qualifying for the JROTC Regional in Colorado Springs, CO. In 2011, one of our cadets competed at both the Army Championships and the Nationals in Anniston, AL; the team went to the 5th Brigade Championships at Kerrville, TX in 2012! We continue to host our Padre Rifle Match every October. 

We also sponsor an Adventure Team, Color Guard and Drill Teams that compete state & nationwide. The Drill/Color Guard Teams went to the 5th Brigade Championships at San Antonio, TX in 2013. We have hosted our Padre Skills Meet annually since 2006 in January. 

Our Leadership and Academic Bowl teams commenced training and world-wide on-line competition in SY 10-11. The Academic team has advanced to Level II every year; and for the first time to Level III in SY 2013-2014. The Leadership Team advanced to Level II every year except 2011-2012.

The historical events of “9-11”, as well as strong recruiting efforts enabled the program to achieve Opening Enrollments over 200 from SY 02-03 to the present. We have achieved record Opening Enrollments consistently since SY 2010-2011.

This program has a strong tradition of community service to our school, district, and the community. We perform over 40 Color Guard presentations annually. Our cadets conduct an annual Service Learning Project; travel to the St. Mary’s Food Bank; clean up Guadalupe Road; the school parking lot and the stadium area four times per year. 

We have been blessed with very supportive Tempe Union High School District Superintendents and Marcos de Niza High School Principals. They have been

                                            Superintendent                                                Principal

                                1973-1983 Dr. John C. Waters                        1976-1989 Dr. Bill Fitzgerald
                                1984-2000 James C. Love                              1989-1995 William Riley
                                1984-1991 Dr. Thomas A. Parker                    1995-1997 Victor Sanchez
                                1991-2004 Dr. James Buchanan                     1997-2000 Steve Adolph
                                2004 Dr. LaVern Tarkington                           2000-2014 Frank Mirizio
                                2004-2007 Dr. Shirley A. Miles                       2014-Present Sean McDonald
                                2007-2011 Steve Adolph
                                2011-Present Dr. Kenneth R. Baca 

We participate in numerous patriotic organizational events each year such as the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame and the Joe Foss Institute Fundraising Dinner. We also co-host along with the Military Order of World Wars the annual East Valley Massing of the Colors every Dec 7th. 

We are proud that an increasing number of graduating cadets choose to continue their academic education, take College ROTC, apply to one of the Military Academies, or enlist into one of the Armed Services. One of our past cadets, US Army Captain Ross Pixler, was the prestigious Ninninger Award recipient from the United States Military Academy in 2011. It is presented annually to a West Point graduate who distinguished himself in combat.