On Monday, June 24, 13 of Oak Ridge High School’s finest NJROTC cadets headed to Basic Leadership Training/Leadership Academy in Smyrna, TN. This 4-day training provided these cadets, along with 220 other cadets from five states, a glimpse of basic training procedures in the military.
Awaking each morning at 4:30 a.m., while most of their classmates were asleep at home, the cadets prepared for physical training at 5:00 a.m. After breakfast, the cadets went back to the barracks to prepare their bunks and lockers for daily inspection, setting them to specific parameters, which required attention to detail.
Throughout the day, cadets learned leadership responsibilities, Navy Core Values, ethics, values, mentoring of junior cadets, conflict resolution, sexual harassment and hazing prevention, inter-unit respect, and of course, honed their marching skills. The cadets finally hit the bunks at 10 p.m. to get some much deserved sleep.
“I really enjoyed the class on leadership,” stated Oak Ridge Cadet Stephen Lucas. “There were some very interesting points of discussion and I honestly feel that each cadet will take this knowledge back to their units and really use it.” Wednesday evening, all cadets changed in to their uniforms and formed up in their respective platoons. Cadets who attended Basic Leadership Training received a certificate of completion and ribbon, and each cadet who attended Leadership Academy earned a Leadership cord for the right shoulder of the uniform.
As parents arrived at the Tennessee Army National Guard Training Site in Smyrna, TN on Thursday, June 27 for graduation, all cadets cleaned barracks and packed up personal gear before breakfast. All platoons conducted a final rehearsal for the pass-in-review ceremony. Families took photos with their cadets and new friends as they were introduced one another. Chief Ryan Nicholls reflected, “After the ceremony, as cars began to depart in various directions, I would venture to say that the rides home were fairly quiet with the occasional snoring of an extremely tired cadet.”