A full report with photos will be published in the next edition
When the 27 members of the Crook County NJROTC landed back in central Oregon early this week, they carried a lot of pride with them. Out of the 491 high schools represented from across the nation at the National Field Meet, the local drill teams placed fourth in armed drill category.
The best NJROTC units from eight areas sent their top three schools to vie for the honor of being the National Champion. More than 2,000 cadets, naval science instructors, chaperones and family members from across the nation were on hand for the event. Twenty-four NJROTC teams from 15 states competed in personnel inspections, academic tests, military drill and athletic competitions. Most of the schools, Hutchinson said, fielded two separate drill teams. "On our team everybody on one team is on the other."
The way the scoring is done, the hometown team finished one point from taking the third place position and only 20 points from first place out of 300 possible points.
The local NJROTC program is fairly new, CCHS Naval Science Instructor Capt. Tom Hutchinson pointed out. "This is only our third year of competing. Many of those schools have been competing since 1960. We can be very proud of our team."
Basically we have one little team doing both armed and unarmed drills. Most of the other, bigger schools have individuals in either one or the other team. Of the approximately 1,200 cadets in the competition, what ours did is nothing to sneeze at."
The National Field Meet was held at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. That, Hutchinson pointed out, is the home of the crack Navy flying team, the Blue Angels. "We saw them fly over repeatedly," he added.
From the time they arrived in Florida, the cadets were living an adventure. Hutchinson said the Crook County cadets spent all Sunday afternoon on one of the nearby beaches. "All afternoon and into the evening ... until dinner, we had to pull them from the water for dinner. All afternoon body surfing, boogie-boarding, volleyball ... you name it."
The important thing, he said is "we went down there with 27 kids and people were very impressed with the ability and the behavior of those kids.