Capt. Regan Kieff
Capt. Regan Kieff
Louisiana native Capt. Regan Kieff has found a new career he loves after retiring from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2014. Kieff serves as Senior Naval Science Instructor of the Navy Junior ROTC program at Neshoba Central High School. Entering his second year in the role, Kieff said the program provides him an opportunity to give back to the community.

"I absolutely love it," he said. "Honestly I was a C student (in high school) who could have been an A student with the right motivation. We have kids like that here, that just need the right motivation to succeed. I want to be the catalyst for these students."

Kieff, a native of Cutoff, Louisiana, said he joined the Marine Corps. in 1993 after visiting a recruiting office in Houma, Louisiana with a friend of his. That experience led to a 22 year career with the Marines, during which Kieff served six combat tours of duty, five in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

"I have had a very unique career," Kieff said. "Not many Marines can say they have served in all three sections of the Marine rank structure."

Kieff started as a private and was promoted to the rank of staff sgt., he then became a warrant officer and was promoted to chief warrant officer-3. Afterwards he became a limited duty officer and rose to the rank of captain before his retirement in 2014.

During his term of service, Kieff was an aircraft engineer officer focusing on aviation maintenance. He said he worked on all types of Marine aircraft.

Kieff said that while he never pictured himself in the role of an educator, he does have sufficient background to excel at the position. He noted that being a member of the Marine Corps allows certification as either a Marine or Navy JROTC instructor. Kieff also has an M.B.A. to add to his list of credentials.

Kieff has three daughters, Haley, who is a nursing student at Palm Beach St. University, Nikki, 16, who is a level 10 gymnast and who is enrolling at Neshoba Central this year, and his youngest daughter Kylie, 14 who is a cheerleader at Fontainbleau High School in Mandeville, Louisiana.

These days, Kieff also has another 105 students under his tutelage, as that is the number of cadets in the program at NCHS this year. Kieff said that the new cadets are already very busy with activities connected to the program. He noted that cadets are already working on their service projects and have several competitions planned for the upcoming school year.

Kieff said this year’s freshman cadet class has over 70 members and he is excited about the enthusiasm of the new group of students.

“We have a lot planned for the year,” Kieff said during a recent Neshoba County football game. “Our new cadets are showing promise.”

Texas Pete Wings:

1. Cut whole wings at joints and discard wing tips.

2. Place the 24-30 pieces on absorbent paper to dry. Fry: 375° F 10-12 minutes or until crispy.

3. Oven Bake: Spread wings in a single layer on sheet pan. 450° F for 35 min or until done.

4. To coat, place cooked wings and Texas Pete Buffalo Wing Sauce in a large covered bowl and shake gently.

5. To serve, use tongs/slotted spoon to place wings on a plate.

6. Serve with celery sticks and bleu cheese dressing.

Lafourche Parish Gumbo:

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 small yellow onion

1 medium green bell pepper, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

12 oz. andouille sausage, sliced into 1/2" pieces

1 tbsp. cajun seasoning (without salt)

kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 bay leaf

1 15-oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1 32-oz. box chicken broth

1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined

3 green onions, chopped

1. In a large, deep skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter, then add oil and flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until dark caramel colored, about 10 minutes.

2. Add onions, peppers, and celery, and stir until softened, about 5 minutes more. Stir in garlic and sausage, then season with Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir in bay leaf, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

3. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add shrimp. Once shrimp is pink and cooked through, taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in green onions, reserving some for garnish.

4. Serve spooned on top of white rice.

Teriyaki Steak:

1. Cut steak crosswise into 3 equal pieces.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together teriyaki sauce, garlic, ginger, scallions, and lime. Add the steak and toss so that the meat is fully coated in the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in refrigerator for at 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

3. After the steak has time to marinate, preheat grill (or grill pan) to medium-high and oil the grates.

4. Once hot, remove the meat from the marinade and place on the grill. Add scallions to the grill and brush with oil. Season both with salt and pepper. Cook steak for about 3 minutes per side (depending on the thickness) for medium-rare.

5. Remove steak from grill and transfer it to a cutting board. Cover with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice the steak against the grain into thin strips and serve.

Garnish with sesame seeds.