On the morning of Monday, March 12, 2018, 31 cadets, 3 parent chaperones and Chief Ryan Nicholls, the ORHS Naval Science Instructor, boarded a charter bus and headed to Pensacola, FL for five days. The group arrived late Monday afternoon, and checked in to their hotel to unpack before heading to the Navy Exchange, the Navy’s department store, for some time to shop and purchase snacks and souvenirs.
For the next four days, the cadets visited several commands onboard Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL. The group visited the Air Traffic Control Tower where one cadet was able to overcome his personal fear of heights and climbed the seven flights of stairs to the top of the Air Traffic Control Tower. They also visited the Naval Aviation Technical Training Command to learn about the various aviation careers in the Navy and Marine Corps. The group toured the US Coast Guard Station where they learned about the history of the Coast Guard and the various types of vessels and missions of the Coast Guard. They also learned line-tossing techniques from the Coast Guardsmen.
The group toured Training Air Wing Six (TRAWING), the Naval Air Museum, the USS Alabama, Fort Pickens and the Navy’s Rescue Swimmer School. Cadets enjoyed some fun as well, including two hours of cosmic bowling, go-kart riding and dinner at Lambert’s Café, home of the thrown rolls. The servers complemented the Cadets for how respectful they were and thanked them for their kindness.
Upon arriving in Oak Ridge mid-evening on Friday, March 16, exhausted cadets and chaperones reflected on a very exciting and eventful trip. When asked what they enjoyed the most, Austin McLaughlin said, “Fort Pickens because of the history.” He really enjoyed the fact that it was fun, there was a lot to do, and there was no time to be bored. “I am 100% ready to do more trips like this in the future,” he said. Sam Boley enjoyed the USS Alabama most on the trip. When asked why, Sam said, “I want to be in the Navy and stationed onboard a ship and by visiting the USS Alabama, it gave me an idea of what that would be like.” He was also amazed at all the different schools and commands within the Navy and really enjoyed visiting the Coast Guard station as well. When asked, “Would you like to participate in future trips like this?” Sam said without hesitations, “definitely!”
Chief Nicholls and his cadets would like to thank the Oak Ridge Community for their continued support of the Oak Ridge High School Navy Junior ROTC program, “without you all, these cadets could not have had the career experience that they just had.” Fundraising has already begun to fund more educational orientation trips for next year. For information about the Oak Ridge High School NJROTC program, please visit their website at orhsnjrotc.org.
Press release and photos submitted by Chief Ryan Nicholls