There’s a new face at Delaware Hayes High School as Maj. Matthew O’Brien assumes the role of the senior aerospace science and AFJROTC instructor.
O’Brien comes to Delaware after a long and varied career in the United States Air Force and Ohio Air National Guard, as well as other public service positions.
A native of Mansfield, O’Brien said he has served as a flight commander and as an anti-terrorism and force protection officer. He was deployed in Operations Coronet Oak, Joint Forge, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, and he eventually reached the rank of major.
O’Brien has also served as a county court deputy and a federal investigator, where he conducted background investigations on personnel from the Department of Defense, U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs & Border Protection.
Before accepting the Hayes position, O’Brien had been working as a AFJROTC instructor since 2017 at Midview High School in Grafton, Ohio.
O’Brien said he became interested in AFJROTC after he interviewed cadets and instructors in the program at Highland High School and the Knox County Career Center as part of an individual investigation, and they encouraged him to look into the program.
“During the course of several conversations, I realized that I could still contribute to the USAF and help develop students and future cadets by being a part of AFJROTC,” O’Brien said. “So in essence, they really helped encourage me to become an instructor.”
O’Brien said he applied for the position at Hayes after retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Floyd Anible left the position earlier this year to retire.
“The reputation and honor of OH-012 was what really drew me to the SASI at Hayes and Delaware schools,” O’Brien said. “(Senior Master Sgt. Douglas) Manley is an excellent instructor and was remaining on board, and the unit has had a great reputation on the drill circuit statewide, but I had also worked with the cadets and the instructors at the Cadet Leadership School conducted annually at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.”
O’Brien said he also has close family in Powell, so he “knew it would be a great overall fit.”
“I am really looking forward to both honoring the reputation that this unit represents while inspiring the future cadet leaders we have on board at the program,” O’Brien said. “This unit also has crosstown agreements with Buckeye Valley, Big Walnut and Olentangy school districts, so it is a unique opportunity to bring in diverse groups of students from the local schools in the county and be a part of their character, life skills and leadership development.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.