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Crook County High School hosted the NJROTC annual fall inspection at the CCHS gym

RAMONA MCCALLISTER - The Crook County NJROTC cadets get in formation for the Pass In Review Ceremony.

The feeling of pride and jitters was tangible in the Crook County High School gym on Thursday morning.

For the NJROTC cadets, the fall inspection for the NJROTC programs in Oregon is an exercise in discipline and order.

Held on Wednesday, Crook County High School NJROTC hosted the annual inspection at the CCHS gym. Joining the Crook County High School cadets was LaPine High School and Mountain View High School NJROTC cadets.

The NJROTC (Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps) mission is to instill in students in secondary schools, the values of citizenship and service to the United States. These values also include personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment. The NJROTC curriculum emphasizes citizenship and leadership development. It also incorporates maritime heritage, naval topics such as the fundamentals of naval operations, seamanship, navigation and meteorology.

Instructors are retired United States Navy professionals, and they incorporate community service activities, drill competitions, field meets, and other activities throughout the year. The annual inspection is one of the activities held each October.

Crook County High School Naval Science Instructor, Commander Scott Svoboda indicated that this is the first time all three schools have combined for this event. All the NJROTC programs in the state of Oregon are from Central Oregon—including LaPine High School, Mountain View High School and Crook County High School.

"There are only three that have Navy in the whole state (all Central Oregon)," explained Svoboda. "I think that's pretty neat."

He indicated that some schools have United States Army, Marines or other parts of the military service. He added that part of the inspection included having cadets give briefs about their programs to Major Scott Buchanan, United States Air Force, Retired, and Guest Inspector.

"It was neat for the schools to hear each other give their presentation about their respective programs," said Svoboda.

Crook County currently has 79 cadets in their program—up 14 cadets from last year. The requirement from the United States Navy for an active program is 10 percent of the school body enrollment.

Svoboda explained that the intent of the inspection is all about order and discipline. The cadets need to be able to dress appropriately, including their uniform—name tag, ribbons and medals, and polished shoes. They are expected to have general knowledge, including chain of command.

"It's a mechanism that is used to instill that in students," he added.

The cadets are inspected on their uniforms, formation, and presentation. At the conclusion, they do a Pass in Review.

LaPine Naval Science Instructor, Master Gunnery Sargent Donald Wilborn, also sees the inspection as an opportunity to instill important life skills.

"We see a lot times when the kids wait until the last minute to do something," Wilborn pointed out. "We try to teach them to get ready before."

He emphasized that one big misconception of the NJROTC program is when parents and students think that NJROTC instructors are military recruiters, instead of teachers and mentors. In addition, many students believe that the program is a mandatory step of getting into the military—also a misconception.

The character education in NJROTC teaches values, principles and self-discipline. It also promotes positive, productive behaviors and provides a support structure that can be critical in helping cadets adopt a healthy and fit lifestyle. The program encourages NJROTC cadets to graduate from high school and continue higher education. Approximately 60 percent of graduating seniors do continue to higher education.

Cadets also learn the value of teamwork and individual accomplishment.

Wilborn commented that the inspection has been instrumental in building friendships and rapport between students from different schools.

The closing ceremony included a presentation of the LaPine drill team, and a Pass in Review of all three NJROTC schools. Crook County High School cadets carried the United States Flag and the Navy Flag as part of the parade.

"It goes back hundreds of years," explained Svoboda of the Pass in Review ceremony. "When a new commander would arrive, it was an opportunity for the new commander to see all the troops. And an opportunity for them to render him honors, so today it was Scott Buchanan who received those honors. It's a formality."

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