The month of December has been a busy one for the Ramona High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) unit.
The cadets qualified for the state championships that will be held on Feb. 20 in Santa Ana by finishing second at the Area 11 State Drill Qualifier at Orange Glen High School.
Area 11 has 56 schools, but only the top 16 qualify for state championships. The top two schools at the state championship advance to national championships in Pensacola, Fla.
Events contested in a drill meet are: Personnel Inspection, Armed Basic routine, Unarmed Basic Routine, Armed Exhibition, Unarmed Exhibition, Color Guard, Situps, Pushups, a 16-by-100-yard relay, an 8-by-220-yard relay and an Academic Examination.
Ramona took 45 cadets and earned: first in physical fitness, second in push-ups, second in situps, first in the 16x100 relay, first in the 8x220 relay, third in personnel inspection and fifth in the academic exam.
Cadet Kelsey Perry took first overall (males and females) out of 340 contestants in situps with 312. Jackson Rath took fourth out of 120 male cadets with 201 situps. Alec Richardson took fifth with 120 situps. Brandi Hietala took fourth place out of 120 female cadets with 130 situps.
Eli Jauregui finished fifth out 120 cadets with 76 pushups. Kelsey Perry came in second place out 120 female cadets with 68 push- ups. Jammi Whitney took fifth with 61 pushups.
Stephen Brumfield earned a third place medal out of 225 cadets on the academic examination.
Under the leadership of Unit Commanding Officer Adi Gutierrez, Excutive Officer James Dicataldo, Operations Officer Kelsey Perry and Command Master Chief Petty Officer Stephen Brumfield, the Ramona unit came home with nine trophies and a guaranteed trip to the state meet.
The unit also completed a tour of the helicopter squadron HSC-85 High Rollers at Naval Air Station North Island. Ramona’s own Chief Petty Officer Brent Strahm, who recently returned from Iraq, coordinated the tour.
The cadets got hands-on experience with night vision goggles and got to operate and train on and maintain complex military equipment. The High Rollers is a unique unit that is certified by the CalFire to operate drop aircraft in the state of California. They were active in the fight against the Witch Fire.
The new guided missile destroyer USS STERETT (DDG 104) recently adopted the Ramona High School NJROTC Unit. The cadets kicked off this new partnership with a tour of the ship and a dinner aboard her. Ensign Ashley Taylor, a 2009 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and the ship’s public affairs officer, coordinated the visit.
The trip involved touring the Bridge Combat Information Center, helicopter hangars, forecastle and fantail. The Ramona cadets also helped with the lowering of the flags at sunset.
Taylor and crew members from the STERETT will be at Ramona High School on Jan. 16 to perform duties as judges in the annual Ramona High Drill Competition. The event will be from 7:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., when awards will be presented. The public is encouraged to attend.