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NJROTC cadets experience Marine life

By Joycelyn Biggs | | July 17, 2014

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Coffee County High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets ages 14 to 18, converged on Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany July 9-11 for their annual basic leadership training.

The 26 cadets gained basic leadership training, learned teamwork, practiced drill training and experienced living on a military installation, according to Debra Woods, Coffee County High School NJROTC instructor.  

Living in the barracks on base gave cadets an opportunity to experience military living, Woods said.

She revealed some of the cadets have never been away from home. She said this gave participants a glimpse of what it may feel like to live away from home. 

The cadets also participated in several military training events. They maneuvered through obstacle courses, practiced drill techniques, navigated through the woods using a compass and learned Marine Corps martial arts under the watchful eye of active-duty Marines here.

“I get a lot of satisfaction in this,” Sgt. Aspen Thompson, distant professional military education program manager, Base Operations, MCLB Albany, said. “I feel a sense of accomplishment when a child who has never used a compass before gains knowledge in how to use it.”

In addition to learning to read a compass, cadets were also tasked with displaying their physical fitness level by completing the combat fitness test and obstacle course.

After completing the CFT, Vernetta Watts, Coffee County NJROTC cadet confessed it was difficult.

“It was hard, but it was good training,” she said. “This is giving me an idea of what to expect when I go into the service.”

Portions of the CFT required cadets to run, low-crawl, carry sand-filled ammunition cans, toss a simulated grenade and carry a simulated victim.

Leisurely activities were not omitted from the schedule for the cadets.

They shopped at the Marine Corps Exchange, saw a movie at the Base Theater and went on a tour of the Marine Depot Maintenance Command.

Woods said visiting the base was a great opportunity for the cadets. She added she believes the experience enhanced some skills necessary for success in future endeavors.
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