MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- Get off my bus! Get off my bus! Are words which will forever be remembered by every enlisted Marine. Those are the first words a recruit hears upon arriving at Parris Island, S.C., or San Diego, Calif.
Those same words were echoed to Naval JROTC cadets from Georgia, Alabama and Florida when they arrived aboard MCLB Albany June 11 and began a week of basic training camp.
The training program consisted of everything expected in a boot camp compressed into seven days.
The training included a daily 5 a.m. wake-up, land navigation, water survival, drill, etiquette, history, physical training twice a day and weapons training in the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer.
ÒOur objective was to give them a taste of what itÕs like,Ó said Cmdr. Ken Osborne, naval science instructor at Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda, Fla.
ÒEach high school Naval JROTC Program sent two to four students to participate in the program, which helps to develop leadership, self confidence and teaches them drill,Ó Osborne said.
According to Chris Walz and Rebecca Nettleton, both JROTC petty officers in the program, the week of training taught them skills to take back to their units.
ÒIÕve learned a lot,Ó said Walz. ÒWe practiced drill and had classes back at the school, but nothing like here. IÕve marched more here than I have in all the other times combined.Ó
Nettleton said she had been to a JROTC camp in 1999, but they had concentrated much more on the physical aspects of the training and less on marching and military instruction.
ÒThis program taught me a lot,Ó said Nettleton. ÒI have a lot of knowledge to bring back to my unit.Ó
According to Osborne the program does not create skills where none exist.
The reason only a few cadets from each school are permitted to attend is because the unit commanders use the week-long course to polish the skills of the cadets who show potential and will fill leadership billets back in their units.
ÒWe select a few of the top cadets from each unit to learn skills here and take those skills back to teach their shipmates,Ó said Osborne.
ÒThe same way the Corporals Leadership Course brings out the leadership skills of Marines who are becoming noncommissioned officers, we strive to bring out the skills of the cadets who will be the unit leaders,Ó Osborne said.
According to Sgt. Maj. Luis H. Torres Jr., a retired Marine Corps sergeant major for 3rd Battalion at Recruit Depot Parris Island, observing what the cadets are taught being put into practice on a day-to-day basis helped immeasurably.
ÒWe could have held the training a lot of places,Ó said Osborne. ÒWe chose to travel eight hours instead of going some place much closer because of the surroundings.
ÒIÕd love to have the training up here all the time,Ó he said. ÒIt is one thing for the kids to hear us say something, but it is much more effective to hear someone else say the same thing. I could have taught the water survival courses, but they learned a lot more because there were Marines out there teaching them.Ó
After a week of early mornings, marching, and classes well into the night the cadets graduated from the junior boot camp Saturday morning with a loud cheer.
Although many cadets said they enjoyed the camp and learned a lot in the week of training, they were all glad to be going home again.
According to Osborne, the program was very successful and met or exceeded his expectations.
ÒOur goal is not to make Sailors or service members,Ó said Osborne.
ÒMany of the people involved in the program choose to go that route, but that is not our objective,Ó he said.
ÒWhat we try to do is instill the cadets with self confidence, leadership abilities and an understanding of the service,Ó Osborne said. ÒWhat we try to do is turn these children into productive and positive members of society whatever their career goals may be.Ó
Osborne and Torres, both thanked base personnel and the Base Commander, Col. Larry P. Cole, for the support they received.
ÒThe base has been great,Ó said Osborne. ÒThey provided us with everything. They made the program here possible.Ó
According to Osborne, if he is given the chance he would like to hold the program at MCLB Albany again in the future.