Dover, NH. Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) cadets from three Area Four high schools completed a three day Basic Leadership Training (BLT) at the Army National Guard Training Facility in Strafford, NH on October 28-30.
The cadre included 110 cadets from Dover NNDCC Dover NH, Manchester West NJROTC Manchester NH, and Massibessic NJROTC Waterboro ME High Schools. Activities included daily athletics and physical training, team building, along with first aid and land navigation training, utilization of a state of the art weapon simulator, uniform and room inspections and a close-order drill competition.
Retired Navy Commander Tom Gamble, senior naval science instructor at Dover High School, led a team of 11 staff made up of retired Navy and Marine Corps personnel, Active duty National Guard and Marine Corps, 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 using a state of the art weapons training simulator where they simulated using M4 rifles and take target practice at turkeys." said Gamble.
According to Cadet Rebecca Hughes, company commanding officer and a senior at Dover High School, 38 BLT graduates assisted the adult staff members in providing the training to the new cadets.
"I have been in the program since my freshman year," said Hughes. "This program has done so much for me as I prepare to enter the Marine Corps. 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 Stephen Steer, a junior at Nute High School, said he enjoyed the busy schedule and regimental routine during the week-long evolution.
"I'm just starting the process of applying to service academies and this weekend is just what I needed. I’m more confident than ever that I can be successful in college and at an academy,” said Steer.
Cadet Seaman Apprentice Emma Payette is a freshman at Dover High School and new to NJROTC but her mother is currently on active duty in the navy.
"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."
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.
Navy Captain Art Stauff Senior Naval Science Instructor from Manchester West High School 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 Stauff. "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 is a citizenship program of nearly 84,000 NJROTC cadets representing 633 schools in 45 states and territories and overseas locations including Japan and Guam. It was established in 1964 to instill service to the United States, personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment in students at secondary educational institutions.
For more information about NJROTC, visit https://www.njrotc.navy.mil/.
For more news from Naval Education and Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnet