Citizenship highlighted at Mt. Tahoma's JROTC competition

By J.M. Simpson on March 16, 2015

Cody McCartney stood ramrod straight at attention.

In front of him stood a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadet from the University of Washington.

The inspector looked and sounded serious.

Very serious.

One of 21 Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets from South Kitsap High School Wolf Battalion, McCartney, a senior, faced a barrage of questions as he stood for inspection.

"Who is the secretary of defense?" the inspector cadet asked McCartney.

"Sir, the honorable Secretary Ash Carter," came the automatic reply.

The inspector stared into McCartney's unmoving eyes.

"What is General Order Number 3," the inspector pressed as he moved an inch closer to McCartney.

"Sir, General Order Number 3 states that I am to report all violations of order I am instructed to enforce," McCartney calmly recited.

Satisfied with McCartney's answers, his uniform and the condition of his M1 Garand, the inspector turned on his heel and moved on to the next cadet.

The inspector began a whole new line of pointed questioning.

McCartney remained rock still.

>>> Cadets of the South Kitsap High School Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps enter the Inspection Deck during the Northwest Drill and Rifle Conference competition at Mt. Tahoma High School. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

This past Saturday, 31 high schools and more than 800 JROTC cadets from Western Washington and Northern Oregon gathered at Tacoma's Mount Tahoma High School for the annual Northwest Drill and Rifle Conference (NWDRC) competition.

Think of this competition as a tune-up for the final competition of the teams vying for the first three places.

"What you see here is a large civics class in action," explained Harold Vickers, Jr., senior petty officer, USN, (Ret.) and the South Kitsap team's Naval Science instructor.

"The JROTC program does not promote one service over the other; it exists to educate students in being good citizens, good Americans."

>>> A Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet from South Kitsap High School presents his M1 Garand Rifle for inspection. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Vickers also said that over the past year the South Kitsap cadets have performed more than 2,000 hours of community service.

The teams competed in the areas of both armed and unarmed drill, color guard, physical fitness and air rifle marksmanship.

The top three teams will move on to the conference championships.

Mount Tahoma High School will also host that championship.

For more information about the JROTC programs in local high schools, contact that specific school.