DISTINGUISHED UNIT with ACADEMIC HONORS
11 years in a row!
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NJROTC tours Gulf Coast and New Orleans
The Northmont NJROTC cadets standing in front of the 16 inch gun turrets of the battleship USS Alabama are (front row, left to right): Catherine Downie, Alivia Montgomery, Abby Bastian, Colton Oaks, Josh McCormick, Abbey Parmenter, Jeff Kramer, Damon Kallmeyer, Emily Bierman. Second row: Jenna Grieshop, Alecia Barker, Neil Arsenio, Taylor Manson, John Garrison, Rylee Hensley, Denissa Sly, Maddie McFadden and Dorin Young. Third row: Sr. Chief James Griffin, Trey Cradlebaugh, Delaney Rotterman, Jordan Gales, Desiree Wright, Kiani Hayes, Kameron Brown, Taylor Evans, Aniyah Stanford, MacKenzie Christopher, Dustin Kallmeyer, and Kay Hatfield (chaperone). Back row: Justin Hemmerick, Trace Jordan, Tirus Forrest, Dion Wilkins, Jared Bush, David Sutter, Alex Miller, Jacob Marshall, Melissa Barrett, Mary Brown (chaperone), and Gwen Landes. Back row: Ashley Jones, Logan Seebach, Andrew West, Ariana Harris, Sha’Bre Byrd-Barton, Emily Lambert, Chris Reisenberg, Joe Taylor, Lt. Colonel Ken Knotts and Weston Collins.
In early February, Northmont Senior High School’s Navy Junior ROTC unit escaped the cold and snow of Ohio for an orientation trip to the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coast and the City of New Orleans, Louisiana. The NJROTC unit stayed at a beachfront hotel in Long Beach, MS for the duration of their trip and took advantage of the beach at every opportunity.
First stop on the trip was the Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport, Mississippi. Home of the Seabees, the base provides Navy, Army and Air Force personnel a mix of hands-on experience and classroom training in the construction trades. The Northmont cadets saw military personnel working on masonry and wood framing projects and performing interior building construction. The cadets also saw how the Navy trains welders/steelworkers and several cadets got to try a state-of-the-art welding simulator.
The high point of the visit to the base was the Combat Convoy Simulator where cadets experienced what it is like to be a Seabee protecting US convoys while supplies and equipment are moved to a remote land-based job site. The simulator has different bays complete with replicate high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles that are surrounded by a 360-degree screen onto which a variety of programmable scenarios were projected. During the simulation, the cadet’s experienced desert and mountain terrains and encountered obstacles that included driving through urban environments, rough terrain, ambushes and running into an improvised explosive device (IED).
After visiting the Gulfport base, the cadets journeyed to New Orleans for an evening dinner cruise aboard the Steamboat Natchez on the Mississippi River. Live jazz entertainment was provided by the Grammy nominated “Dukes of Dixieland.” During the cruise, the cadets got a breathtaking night view of the city including the French Quarter and sailed through one of the world’s most active ports. The steamboat’s engine room was open for viewing throughout the cruise.
On the second day of the trip, the cadets journeyed back to New Orleans to explore the National World War II Museum which is housed in multiple buildings in Uptown New Orleans. Highlights at the museum were the Tom Hanks produced 4-D movie, Beyond All Boundaries and the Road to Berlin: European Theater Galleries. The latter recreated actual battle settings and villages as backdrop for newsreels, video histories, and interactive kiosks as well as artifacts. The cadets also took part in Final Mission: The USS Tang Experience where 27 participants relive the last battle of the most successful submarine in World War II during its fifth and final patrol on 25 October 1944. Each person represented a Tang crewmember at his duty station during the last battle. At the end of the experience, participants discovered if they were among the few who survived the mission. Later that day, the cadets explored the French Quarter before viewing the family-friendly Krewe of Oshun Mardi Gras parade in Uptown New Orleans. As hoped, the cadets collected many beads and memorabilia thrown from the floats.
The third day of the trip was a visit to the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park on Mobile Bay in Mobile, Alabama. The park contains a collection of military aircraft and the museum ships: the battleship, the USS Alabama and the submarine, the USS Drum. Both saw action in the Pacific theatre during World War II. Touring the Alabama is an impressive experience. It is 680 feet long and 194 feet tall (more than a 20 story building) and armed with nine 16-inch guns in three turrets and 20 5-inch, .38 caliber guns in 10 twin mounts. The cadets explored 12 decks of the ship, climbed inside gun turrets, saw crew sleeping quarters and learned about life on a battleship. The cadets also enjoyed exploring the inside and outside of the Drum, the oldest US submarine on display in the world. It is credited with sinking 15 ships, a total of more than 80,000 tons of enemy shipping, the eighth highest of all U.S. submarines in total Japanese tonnage sunk. On display in the aircraft pavilion was a “Blackbird” spy plane; a P51-D Mustang Redtail, the type of plane flown by the Tuskegee Airmen; and a Vietnam PBR boat. The cadets experienced in a flight simulator the take-off and landing of an F-14 on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
In reflecting back on the trip, the cadets mentioned how amazing New Orleans is, how cool it would be to serve as a Navy Seabee and how beautiful the sands of the Gulf Coast are. Although the south was gripped in the same cold weather, it was still much warmer than back home. Given a winning performance at the upcoming Regional Drill Competition in Columbus, Ohio, Northmont’s Navy JROTC could earn the right to represent Area 3 in Pensacola, FL., April 10 – 11 at the NJROTC Nationals Academic, Athletic & Drill Championship!
Good luck Northmont!
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