Western North Carolina is now home for Command Sergeant Major David Massullo after a long career in the military. Being born into a military family, he moved pretty frequently. While spending time at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, and visiting the western part of the state, he fell in love with the area and made it a mission for him and his wife to retire in the mountains. After retiring out of Colorado, he received a call from a principal of a school in Pennsylvania to come and be the instructor for their JROTC program. During that time, Massullo and his wife began their search for an area in North Carolina to live in. They looked in many areas, but it was a visit to the annual Apple Festival that made them fall in love with Henderson County. They ended up moving to the area, and he took a job as an instructor at Owen High School.
“I knew there was a program here at West Henderson, because I knew of it when I was at Owen,” Massullo said. “They came up there, and we had a field day at Owen High School, and they came up and took all of our trophies. So I knew about the program, I knew it was a good program, and I knew the reputation of West Henderson High School. You all may not know it, but you’ve got a very good reputation as a great school.”
It was only by chance that a position would open up at West, and he was not hesitant to take it.
“When First Sergeant Kennedy decided to take a contracting job, Colonel Lytle put out the email saying, ‘Hey I am looking for instructors,’ and I immediately said I was interested,” Massullo said. “Not taking anything to Owen; it’s a great school too, but your reputation precedes yourself. My wife and I love Henderson County, we love Hendersonville, and I love being at this school so far.”
Massullo’s military career started soon after high school. Instructing JROTC was never on Massullo’s mind. It was only by progressing through the ranks, and by trying different careers within the military that he was assigned the position of Command Sergeant Major for Brigade Western Region JROTC. In that job he oversaw the JROTC programs of 22 universities and 55 high schools, and it was his first experience with JROTC. The thing that really got him interested in pursuing JROTC after retirement was his attendance of the Drill National competition. There, among thousands of cadets performing drills, he had an encounter with a parent.
“One of these thousands of people that I didn’t know, came up and tapped me on the shoulder, and said, ‘I want to thank you; you saved my son’s life,’ and I said, ‘Ma’am do we know each other?’ She goes, ‘No but I know of JROTC instructors.’ She was from a California inner city school, and she said, ‘My son would either be dead or in jail if it hadn’t been for JROTC,’ and, I mean, that’s pretty powerful, so I’m like, I need to get into this. It was one of those deals, and the rest is history,” Massullo said.
Massullo is excited about his future here at West, and has goals for the JROTC program. He looks forward most to working with the cadets, and likes how much he can learn from them.
“Working with the cadets, I love that. I mean that’s the best part of this job; they make something different every day. It’s an in-and-out thing every day. I look forward to working with the cadets and Colonel Lytle, and growing the program,” Massullo said. “We would like to see a vast majority of individuals coming here, and part of that is getting the rest of the students, who are not in JROTC, to find out some of the things we do. We do a lot of fun stuff, you know, I mean there’s instruction obviously, but we do a lot of fun stuff too. We’ve got a rifle team, a drill team and a raider team, we go out and do different competitions and serve the community. So you know, I’m just making the program one of the best programs in the school and I’m looking forward to it.”
By: Johnathan Austin, Feature Writer