Leadership camps test cadets’ physical fitness
By Bill Tamburrino
This summer cadets from the Ramona High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) attended leadership academies that tested their physical fitness and they came out strong.
Ramona’s NJROTC is an Area 11 Distinguished Unit and has been for three years. The unit’s commander, Lieutenant Commander Mike Ernst, and Chief Petty Officer Bob Richardson sent 12 cadets to three different academies in order to improve the unit’s leadership.
Kevin Carmona, Jessica Buzzell and Randy Basel attended the week-long Area 11 Leadership Academy in Flagstaff, Ariz. Eric Szymanski, Joey Balderson, Lauren Masters, Cheyenne Brugh and Carlo Silva attended the Area 11 Leadership Academy in Irvine, where Ernst was an instructor. All eight cadets earned the Silver Cord, a silver aiguillette worn on the shoulder of their uniforms. Less than 1 percent of the nation’s NJROTC cadets earn the right to wear the Silver Cord.
To achieve the Silver Cord, each cadet had to pass a rigorous physical Cadet Challenge Test and earn the Navy Physical Fitness Ribbon, pass a personnel inspection with a 90 percent score, pass a platoon drill evaluation, pass a final written exam with a score of 80 percent or higher, and receive a recommendation by their platoon leader.
Besides the silver aiguillette, the cadets brought home skills and knowledge that will help them be leaders in the NJROTC unit and in life.
“Every individual has strengths and weaknesses. You have to work as a team to strengthen the weakness and finish strong,” said Brugh.
“Work together as a team. Even if the immediate goal is not reached, doing your best as a team will pay off in the long run,” is what Masters said she learned.
“I learned that when you make a mistake you have to admit it and correct it and continue on toward your goal,” said Szymanski.
“The academy taught me that there are always new ways to improve yourself and others. Work as a team to find those ways,” said Balderson.
“You are never done learning,” said Basel.
Carmona was the top physical fitness cadet at the Arizona academy.
Sean Dennis, Kiana Carlstrom, Jacob Underwood, Wesley Richardson and Shannon Singleton attended the Area 11 Sailing Academy in Coronado. The three-day academy taught the basics of sailing, the importance of physical fitness, the importance of academics and featured several competitions. Ramona did well in those competitions.
Richardson earned an Aptitude Ribbon for his team’s first place finish in the Battalion Field Meet that had competitions in push-ups, curl-ups, a 220- yard relay, Dizzy Izzy Oar contest and a tug-of-war. Carlstrom’s team took second place in the meet. Richardson’s Battalion Brain Brawl team took the gold and earned another ribbon for his salad bar. Dennis’ team took second place in the “Family Feud”-style contest based on questions from the Sail Academy study guide. Richardson, Singleton and Dennis received ribbons for Academic Competition.
Underwood’s crew won the most important event at the academy. Underwood earned a ribbon for being a member of the first place team in the 250 Class Sailing Competition race.
“Besides learning to sail, I learned that you can and have to be able to learn to work with everyone. To be successful in a race you have to be motivated and have heart. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun,” said Carlstrom.
As commander of an Area 11 Distinguished NJROTC unit, Ernst, gets to provide up to three nominations a year to the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy (Army) and the U.S. Naval Academy. To date, two Ramona High School cadets have been accepted to military academies. This year Tyler Sherman is at West Point, and Alec Richardson is a plebe at Annapolis. The RHS unit also has former cadets on ROTC scholarships at the University of New Mexico, Tulane and Norwich.
- Ramona’s NJROTC has eventful summer and plans active year
- What’s happening with NJROTC
- High school cadets honor military in community salute
- NJROTC earns first in region, qualifies for state
- Hardworking NJROTC cadets earn Hawaiian playtime
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