MILLEDGEVILLE — Baldwin High School cadets in the NJROTC (Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps) program were inspected Thursday to ensure standards of the Navy were being met through inspections of cadet uniforms and drill team demonstrations.
Georgia Military College Executive Vice President Col. Fred Van Horn (Ret.) acted as guest inspector. While in the presence of family, friends and school administrators, Van Horn awarded 12 cadets with exemplary personal appearance awards and four of the top cadets received an achievement ribbon and medal during the ceremonial phase.
“The purpose of the inspection is to give recognition to the work these young people put into the year. They put a great deal of effort in their extracurricular and academic requirements and add this and do it well. The second purpose is to make a judgment to the effectiveness of the supervised routine and establishing training that NJROTC expectations are being realized. They get high marks in achieving both of those purposes,” Van Horn said. “I see cadet programs at the college and high school level everyday, and have been watching them and overseeing them for 17 years now, so I know a good program when I see one and this is a good one.”
Units demonstrated their proficiency in military drill through march and drill demonstration before the Baldwin High School band performed during the Pass-In-Review. After the ceremonial phase, the cadet staff shared their accomplishments, a report on last year’s goals, current goals and progress toward completion with Van Horn during the cadet brief.
“The thing I appreciated about the entire exercise was the intensity with which the cadets responded. They clearly wanted to get it right and they put a great deal of effort in making that happen; it was an impressive showing by individuals and by units,” Van Horn said after the ceremonial phase. “I look for personal appearance; the degree to which that expressed the pride in what they’re doing. I look for evidence of preparation, which shows itself in the precision in their drill, the precision of their march, and the precision of the execution of the commander; all of those things tell me they get ready for the inspection very seriously.”
Baldwin County Board of Education member Lyn Chandler, District 3, and School Superintendent Geneva Braziel were also in attendance to congratulate cadets on their hard work and performance.
“These students have worked very diligently and I think it’s evident of how much time and countless number of hours they’ve put into it to make this a success,” Braziel said. “I hope today as parents and community people, we can see value of Baldwin High School NJROTC and the value this program adds and the leadership skills it develops within our students.”
Naval science instructors Lt. Cmdr. Steven Domoslay, Master Chief Petty Officer Mark Brown and Master Sgt. Randy Griffin guide and supervise 170 cadets throughout the academic year in preparation for the annual inspection and competitions.
“The last two months we’ve really honed in on the drills. Uniform preparations are done at home, but we teach them how to care for it and their shoes during our weekly uniform inspections. The guest inspector will write a report of everything he checks and will send it to the Navy. We will submit an internal audit report to the Navy and they will combine everything and within two months time we will find out if we are warranted special recognition,” Domoslay said. “We’ve had the NJROTC program at Baldwin High School since 2005. If a student is with the program for four years, the statistics are always the same; 100 percent of the students will graduate, but they will either go to college or make a military career. The ones that go to college in the world we live in with 60 percent failure rate, those students are bringing home the diploma. The discipline and focus they learn in the program carries over to give them a successful journey.”
While the NJROTC program’s training is along military lines, it is conducted so as to encourage initiative and individuality to develop natural gifts, teach self-control, develop personal character, responsibility and qualities of integrity, loyalty and dedication, states the NJROTC website. Senior Michael Vaught, who has been with the program since freshman year, said the NJROTC program has prepared him to enlist with the U.S. Marine Corps this summer.
“NJROTC instills leadership skills in us, so if we decide to enlist and commission, we can lead our fellow sailors, soldiers and airmen,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed being in the program all four years and I’ve wound up getting to where I want to be. I thank all of the instructors for getting me ready to enlist and protect this country.”
The outcome of the Thursday’s inspection will contribute to the ranking of the high school program in order to earn recognition.
“We only have one opportunity in our lives to make first impressions. This was an opportunity for me to get my first impression of you. You have extraordinary pride in how you present yourself and the way you expressed that to me was ... your sign of respect and courtesy, and the skill you’ve showed in your marching routines and drill team performance. All of these are the first impression of the very best time,” Van Horn said to cadets and those in attendance. “When people have the opportunity to ask me about Baldwin High School [NJROTC], all I have in my memory bank is that first impression; it will be in the form of accolades.”
For more information about the NJROTC program, visit www.njrotc.navy.mil.
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