Guam High NJROTC cadets shine

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Guam High NJROTC cadets shine

by: Cmdr. Doug Bowling | .
Guam High instructor | .
published: October 22, 2012

Guam High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps started out the 2012–2013 school year full speed ahead. Enrollment reached an all-time high (123 cadets in the program out of 550 students in the school) and projects started immediately. Even before the school year began, senior cadets were helping the school with the ninth-grade student orientation and new student orientation. Showing new students around the school and personally telling them about the NJROTC program were part of the reason why enrollment reached a new high.

During the very first week of classes, returning students began marksmanship practice after school and new students began trying out for the marksmanship team. Cadets began practicing for the drill team after school as well. Two weeks into the school year, a 9/11 flag-raising ceremony was held in front of the school; 100 cadets participated in the International Coastal Cleanup by cleaning the beach at the War in the Pacific Memorial Park at Asan Sept. 15; cadets performed color guard ceremonies at home football games, and helped the booster club in the concession stand and at ticket tables for another football game. All of these things were taking place while students were adjusting to the new school year after having the summer off. Being an NJROTC cadet was keeping them busy.

The goal of the NJROTC program is to teach students about personal responsibility, leadership and citizenship. The program is designed to encourage students to get involved with extracurricular activities and community service events, while setting and achieving high academic goals and learning about their country and the U.S. Navy. The hope is that every cadet who graduates is a better citizen, a better student and attends college before entering the workforce, either in the military or the civilian workforce. Activities at the school are designed to support this hope.

A lot of the cadets are involved in various extracurricular activities. Graduates of the GHS program have been student body presidents, national honor society members, captains of different athletic teams and have been on the program’s marksmanship team or drill team. As JROTC cadets on Guam, they are fortunate enough to be able to compete against different JROTC from Guam’s public school system, in different activities and also have been able to travel to different locales in the Pacific to compete against other Department of Defense Education Activity JROTC programs. It gives them another opportunity to be on a team and be able to travel. The unit’s marksmanship and drill teams have traveled to Japan or Korea every year for a marksmanship match or drill meet and last year were able to travel twice for a Far East drill meet in addition to the Far East marksmanship match.

The unit even hosted a Far East marksmanship match in April at Gab Gab Beach with schools from Japan attending. This year the drill team will return to Seoul, Korea, and Kadena, Okinawa for their competitions. The marksmanship team will return to Sasebo, Japan for a match while also hosting another match in April. Being a part of the JROTC program gives students a great chance to travel
and compete as part of a school function.

Some graduates of the GHS NJROTC program have gone on to attend one of the U.S. service academies including the Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy. Many of them are attending other universities throughout the U.S. and a large number of them graduated high school and then enlisted in one of the services. Regardless of what former cadets decided to do upon graduation, all of the ones that have visited the school later have all said how grateful they were for their experience in the program and how much it helped them later in life. One former cadet enlisted in the Army, made two tours in Afghanistan and then was accepted to attend the U.S. Military Academy. He and his mother were extremely thankful and could hardly express in words how much his experience in NJROTC had helped him in the Army and while he was in Afghanistan.

The school year has just begun at Guam High School and the NJROTC Panther Company has already accomplished a lot. The seniors are already looking forward to graduation and the freshmen are looking forward to what they can do during the next four years. Much more is planned for them already this year. The cadets have set lofty goals for the year for themselves centered on the course objectives of becoming better citizens, better students and preparing themselves for life after high school. Their expectations are high, but based on what they have accomplished so far this year they will meet or exceed their expectations.

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