NJROTC Cadets celebrate Navy Week


ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — Naval Junior ROTC cadets from Robertsdale and Elberta high schools celebrated Navy Week this week with a flurry of activity, beginning Monday with a visit from the U.S. Navy’s Forged by the Sea informational tour.

Cadets were invited to go on a virtual mission utilizing one of the Navy’s most technologically advanced tools, a Special Warfare Combatant Craft, otherwise known as a SWIC boat. Cadets are taken through the mission, beginning with a briefing before they are put through the scenario of combat conditions, after which they are debriefed.

Naval personnel from around the country participate in the tour, which is part of the Navy’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) training, also bringing in local personnel at every stop.

On Wednesday, cadets were taken through their paces as part of the annual Pass and Review. Commander Chad Smith, commanding officer, and personnel from the Information Warfare Training Command Corry Station at NAS Pensacola conducted the review.

Cadets are reviewed on overall general appearance, which includes personal hygiene and appearance of uniform. About 20 cadets were presented medals for Best Uniform Inspection.

“This is the biggest day of the year for the junior ROTC,” said Lt. Commander Frank Star, senior Naval instructor with the RHS NJROTC. “This is the day that the high standards we ask of our cadets is put to the test. Overall I think we fared very well and I am very positive with the results.”

Star oversees the NJROTC program at RHS along with instructors Petty Officer Edward Theodoro and Petty Officer Erin Pate.

Also participating in Wednesday’s exercise were RHS Principal Joe Sharp and EHS Principal Branton Bailey.

Students wrapped up the week of activities on Thursday, Feb. 28 with a rock concert, but it wasn’t your typical rock concert. The band, known as Pride, is made up of Naval personnel stationed in Jacksonville, Florida.

According to cnic.navy.mil, Navy Band Southeast was established in 1995 and is one of 11 official U.S. Navy Bands. Pride is one of eight performance bands as part of Navy Band Southeast, which was in Mobile as part of the annual Fleet Week.

Pride performs at a wide variety of venues throughout the Southeast, said Musician Second Class Andrew Wills, public affairs officer for Navy Band Southeast.

Band students from all the RHS feeder schools were also invited to participate, including Robertsdale Elementary, Loxley, Silverhill, Elsanor and Rosinton schools, and Central Baldwin Middle School, along with cadets from the RHS JROTC.

This year, cadets from the newly formed Elberta High School were invited to participate with cadets at RHS.

The program boasts a total of around 175 cadets making it the largest NJROTC program in the state, one of the largest in the country.