Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) cadets from three Area Four high schools completed a three-day Basic Leadership Training (BLT) course at the Army National Guard Training Facility in Strafford, N.H. on Sept. 27-29, 2019.
The cadre included 115 cadets from Dover (N.H.) Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC), Manchester (N.H.) West NJROTC, and Waterboro (Maine) High School Massabesic NJROTC. Activities included daily athletics and physical training, team building, along with first aid and leadership training, running through an obstacle course, uniform and room inspections and a close-order drill competition.
Retired U.S. Navy Commander Tom Gamble, senior naval science instructor at Dover High School, led a team of 11 staff members made up of retired Navy and Marine Corps personnel, active duty U.S. National Guardsmen and U.S. Marines, as well as valuable volunteers during the three-day evolution.
“The cadets were treated to a great weekend with a full schedule of events including battle field relays, eating MRE’s, buddy drags, but the highlight was a peanut butter and jelly communication lesson presented by Master Gunnery Sgt. (Ronald) Slagle from Manchester West,” said Gamble.
According to Cadet John Obrey, company commanding officer and a senior at Dover High School, 32 BLT graduates assisted the adult staff members in providing the training to the new cadets.
“I have been fortunate enough to participate in many leadership programs and this was one of the most challenging events to plan and execute,” said Obrey. “This program has done so much for me as I prepare my applications to the service academies. I have enjoyed my time in NJROTC because it builds self-discipline, attention to detail and responsible citizens. This weekend was about watching the new cadets develop confidence in their own abilities and the abilities of their fellow cadets.”
Cadet Robert Smith, a senior in charge of the advanced platoon from Dover High School, said he enjoyed the busy schedule and regimental routine during the weeklong evolution.
“Adding the advanced track for sophomores and juniors to continue their path to being leaders was a great opportunity for me to apply direct use of all the tools we have been taught. I’m more confident than ever that I can be successful in college and my future,” said Smith.
Cadet Sarah Tower is a freshman at Dover High School and new to NJROTC but her father is a retired Navy Commander and former NJROTC instructor.
“This was just an awesome experience. I really enjoyed experiencing something new and being constantly challenged. Adapting to a new environment with people that you mostly didn't know before and watching it all come together was great,” Tower said.
On the final day of the training, the cadets were honored in a graduation ceremony held at the National Guard Training Facility. At the ceremony, cadets were presented awards for their accomplishments in academics, personnel inspections, athletics and close-order drill.
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Mike Donlon. Senior Naval Science Instructor from Massabesic, was a featured speaker at the graduation and addressed the approximately 200 family members in attendance.
“The support from families is really what allows these outstanding cadets to develop into productive citizens,” said Donlon. “The cadets you see before you are our future and we are privileged to watch them develop into citizen leaders of our communities. The training conducted this weekend has put them on a path to success.”
NJROTC/NNDCC is a citizenship development program that instills in high school students, in U.S. secondary educational institutions, the value of citizenship and service to the United States.
U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Jamie Sands, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), and his NSTC staff at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois, and Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida support the NJROTC/NNDCC program. NSTC supports 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy, as well as the Navy’s Citizenship Development program. This includes the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) units at more than 160 colleges and universities; Officer Training Command (OTC) on Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island; Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy’s only boot camp, at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois; and NJROTC/NNDCC units at more than 600 high schools worldwide.
For more information on NJROTC visit: www.njrotc.navy.mil/
For more information about NSTC, visit https://www.netc.navy.mil/nstc/.
For more news from Naval Service Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.
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For more news from Naval Service Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/.