New name, new opportunities for Operation Enduring Freedom club


Anna Bellville

Senior Jaclyn Faulconer leads the Operation Enduring Freedom club meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 2.

Hannah Albers, Staff Writer

Operation Enduring Freedom may have a different name, but their mission remains the same.

The student organization, which supports military personnel, veterans and first responders through various activities, was previously known as Operation Tomahawk– the name of a Korean War military operation that took place in 1951. In correspondence with Algonquin’s mascot change, the club changed their name to Operation Enduring Freedom–the official name of the War in Afghanistan and the Global War on Terrorism, which occurred from 2001-2014. 

“We decided on Operation Enduring Freedom because it honors former ARHS student Brian Arsenault, who died during the battle in 2014,” student club leader, senior Jaclyn Faulconer said. 

Operation Enduring Freedom hosts many important events, such as the Murph Challenge, a military-grade workout that honors Navy Seal Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the War in Afghanistan. The profits are donated to veterans retirement homes within the area.

“Last year was my first year doing the ‘Murph challenge’,” Faulconer said. “It was so much fun and I found it really cool because it showed me how much effort the military personnel put in for us.”

The challenge consists of a one mile run, 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 200 squats and another one mile run to finish. Participants can choose to wear either a 20 pound vest or body armor during the event. 

“We hold many different events within Operation Enduring Freedom,” Faulconer said. “One of the most important events that we do, besides the Murph challenge, is our visits to veterans retirement homes every year.”

Operation Enduring Freedom visits Veterans Inc. in Worcester every year, where they serve dinner and spend time with the veterans. 

“Most of the veterans are very open about their experiences,” Faulconer said. “I have learned that many veterans have not healed from their past trauma. Some veterans ask to be left alone.” 

Operation Enduring Freedom holds an annual Veterans Day assembly. Social studies teacher and club adviser Gina Johnston encourages teachers to allow their students to attend. 

“It’s hard to get teachers in the building to allow students to go to the assemblies because we all cherish our time with our students,” Johnston said.

Johnston believes these assemblies are great opportunities for students to gain a new perspective. 

“If you’ve never met someone who served in the military, you don’t realize all the sacrifices that they have made so that you can live your life,” Johnston said. “They have seen horrors and they have done things that the rest of us could never imagine doing.”

Johnston wants students to know that despite the new name, Operation Enduring Freedom is the same organization with the same goals.

“Even though we changed our name, we still have the same mission of honoring veterans, military personnel and first responders,” Johnston said. “[Operation Enduring Freedom] will be there for anything that people need.”

Faulconer and Johnston encourage new students to join Operation Enduring Freedom. Meetings are every Wednesday after school in G102.

“We are open to new members every week,” Faulconer said. “You can just show up to any meeting.”

Operation Enduring Freedom has and will continue to honor veterans. It is their main goal to ensure that our community gives back to those who have sacrificed greatly for our country.

“Veterans are everywhere,” Johnston said. “Take a moment to thank them.”