RHS Jr. ROTC ready for another successful year

By John Underwood / john@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 6/30/21

 

ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — The Robertsdale High School Jr. ROTC recently completed another successful year and is ready to take on the challenges of a new season, said Commander Frank …

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RHS Jr. ROTC ready for another successful year

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ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — The Robertsdale High School Jr. ROTC recently completed another successful year and is ready to take on the challenges of a new season, said Commander Frank Starr.

The program, which consists of cadets from Robertsdale and Elberta high schools, will host its annual Freshman Introductory Training July 6-9.

“Normally this is held the first week of August, but we had to reschedule it this year,” Starr said. “We’ve been busy over the last couple of months and are looking forward to another successful year in 2021-22.”

In May, for the fifth year in a row, the RHS Junior ROTC program finished in the top 10 among Area 8 programs, finishing with over 200 points for the third year in a row with a total of 207, Starr said.

After finishing with over 200 points for the first time in program history in 2018-19, RHS received its highest point total ever in 2019-20. For 2020-21, the program again earned the distinction of Distinguished Unit with Academic Honors, Starr said.

“Only 10 units area-wide earn that distinction so it’s quite an accomplishment for us,” Starr said. “While our points were down somewhat from previous years, with so many events getting canceled and being prohibited from attending training and competitions outside the state, this is definitely something we can be proud of.”

NJROTC Area 8 includes 48 units from Alabama (except Hazel Green High School), Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and the Florida panhandle. 

Points are accumulated through participation in community events, competitions and training, Starr said.

The RHS JROTC air rifle competition team finished as the top 25 team in the nation, Starr said, winning or placing second in several competitions.

The unit’s CyberPatriot team finished the year in the top 25 percent in the nation, finishing second in state competition which was held virtually this year.

RHS also competed in the Brain Brawl National Championship which was also held virtually this year, Starr said.

Cadets have already participated in several events this year, including the commissioning ceremony for the USS Mobile in May.

On Saturday, May 22, cadets from the RHS ROTC unit served as ceremonial “Side Boys” forming columns for dignitaries to walk through on their way to the ceremony, including the ship’s commanders, high-ranking Navy officials, city, state and federal government officials, including Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, Gov. Kay Ivey, Rep. Jerry Karl and Sen. Tommy Tuberville.

On Friday, May 21, the RHS JROTC provided a color guard and a platoon consisting of a total of 25 cadets to lead the city of Mobile’s “Tardy Gras” parade to honor the ship’s commissioning.

The unit was presented with a USS Mobile Honorary Plankowner Plaque from the Mobile Council Navy League for assisting at the commissioning ceremony, Starr said.

The distinction of “plankowner” follows a Naval tradition in which original sailors aboard a new ship are presented with wood cut from boards used to build the ship, Starr said.

The Mobile Council Navy League also presented Cadet Darby Stevenson with a $1,000 Rear Admiral William H. Stewart Scholarship.

In June, cadets attended a Junior ROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge, which was held at the 4-H Camp in Columbiana, in which the team competed in a series of drills and fitness competitions.

Cadet Mason Wright received the fastest 1-mile time during the camp.

The JROTC unit has plans to participate in several competitions and training during the 2021-22 school year, beginning with Leadership Academy July 26-30.

The ROTC unit will provide color guard for several events, including athletic competitions, and will compete in rifle, orienteering, CyberPatriot, Brain Brawl and drill competitions.

“With more and more events opening back up after being canceled or modified last year, there will be more opportunities for us to serve and compete,” Starr said. “We encourage all of our cadets to take on leadership roles in their schools and communities.”