NJROTC Cadets Complete Leadership Training

By: Jessica Dealy Email
By: Jessica Dealy Email

For some parents, getting a teenager to even make up their bed is difficult. But the parents of the 123 cadets graduating from Basic Leadership Training Camp now have things a bit easier.

Their teens have had a weeks worth of training focusing on academics, physical fitness, and attention to detail.

"There are 18,000 ways to shine a shoe, and you learn the best way here," said Jennifer Warren of Philadelphia.

"The most challenging thing was getting everything perfect," said Joseph Tanner of Baton Rouge, La. "Paying attention to little bitty details you would never pay attention to at a regular training."

Basic Leadership Training Camp has been held at the Naval Air Station in Meridian for the last five years. In order to even be invited, young Junior ROTC cadets must first excel in their high school's program.

"I am the highest ranking freshman at Brother Martin High School," said Todd Mattieu of New Orleans. "Our high school had a point system and I was the top two out of that."

The cadets were chosen from more than 40 high schools located in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida and were taught by \naval science Instructors.

"They come up to Meridian, Miss. Many of them haven't been away from home much," said senior instructor, Commander Bruce McCandless. "They all cohere together. They form a great fighting unit. They get out and do various tasks. We challenge them physically and mentally. They just have a great
time."

Platoon commander, Jazzmin Carson, says she is now going home stronger and more determined because of the great leadership skills she learned and followed while at camp.

"I learned to be a better leader," Carson said. "The moment he made me platoon commander, I knew then I had to step my game up."

The cadets were given graduation certificates and medals for excellence but most seemed to enjoy the week-long experience the best.


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