ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — Cadets from Robertsdale and Elberta high schools celebrated their achievements and talked about the challenges of the past year as part of the annual “Pass-In-Review” conducted Wednesday, Dec. 9 at Robertsdale High School.
Because of travel restrictions, the annual inspection, which would have been conducted by new NJROTC Area 8 Commander Michael Mullen, was instead conducted by Baldwin County Schools Superintendent Eddie Tyler.
“On behalf of the Board of Education, I want to say how proud I am of this group of students,” Tyler said, “who have set and are already achieving their goals. They are a testament to their communities and a prime example of what is being accomplished here in Central Baldwin County.”
The event also featured special guests from the Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) from New Orleans led by Commander Roger Phelps Jr. and MC1 Eric Garst, who was taking photos and working on an article for the Navy Times.
The mission of NTAG New Orleans (formerly Navy Recruiting District) is to recruit the best-qualified men and women for active-duty and Reserve enlisted and officer service for America’s Navy to accomplish today’s missions and meet tomorrow’s challenges, said RHS NJROTC Commander Frank Starr.
NRD New Orleans through its assigned Sailors and DOD civilian employees, is responsible for recruiting efforts throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.
While recruiting men and women to replenish the fleet is a primary responsibility of NRD New Orleans, its team of professional Sailors is also charged with being ambassadors of good will who shape a positive image of the Navy in their local communities.
“Whether they are signing up as an enlisted Soldier or going through officer training in college or at the academy, units like this one play a vital role in the safety and security of our nation,” Phelps said. “While our main focus is in recruitment, we are also committed to providing community support to the NJROTC units that we serve and this is just one small way to show our appreciation to them for what they mean to their community and to the country as a whole.”
While the numbers are slightly down over previous years because of Coronavirus concerns, the NJROTC remains one of the largest single groups on the RHS campus with 160 cadets, including 49 cadets from Elberta High School and four from the Baldwin County Virtual School, Starr said.
Cadets are reviewed on overall general appearance, which includes personal hygiene and appearance of uniform.
The inspection included all the unit’s cadets, conducted in the gymnasium at Robertsdale High School. Cadets were split into six platoons and inspected in three groups, two platoons at a time.
The inspection was followed by a “Pass-In-Review,” conducted on the band practice field on the infield area of the track at Robertsdale High School, which included cadets’ family, city officials, and school officials, including Tyler, RHS Principal Joe Sharp and EHS Principal Branton Bailey.
Following the Pass-In-Review, cadet commanders conducted a debriefing in the NJROTC classroom, going over the challenges faced over the last year including the cancellation of several competitions, training and community service opportunities, along with possible future impacts caused by COVID-19.
The unit also touted its accomplishments for the 2019-20 school year, which included:
Finished with 221 points on the End of Year Report – the most in unit history.
Finished 2019-20 ranked fifth in Area 8 – highest finish in unit history.
Cadet awarded the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement award for the third consecutive year.
Second place Area 8 Brain Brawl Championship.
Fourth place Area 8 CyberPatriot competition.
Sixth place Area 8 STS Air Rifle Championship.
One cadet competed at NJROTC Air Rifle National Championship.
Platinum rating and top 25 percent national ranking in first year of CyberPatriot – mentor was unanimously named National Mentor of the Year.
First place RHS PT postal.
Second place Smiths Station Air Rifle Postal match.
Second place RHS Battle of the Bay STS Air Rifle match.
First place Baldwin County STS Air Rifle championship.
First place Neshoba Rocket PT postal.
Seventh place Area 8 Orienteering Championship.
Four cadets named to attend Alabama Boys State.
One cadet named to attend Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Camp.
Four cadets have enlisted to date.
One cadet completed an online class through Harvard University.
Senior and junior class valedictorians, as well as junior class salutatorian.
Five National Flight Academy graduates.
Mutual support through Alabama:
Baldwin County School District.
Robertsdale High School and Elberta High School.
Cities of Robertsdale, Loxley, Summerdale Silverhill, Lillian, Seminole, Rosinton, Perdido Bay, etc.
Accrued 8,127 hours of community service and school support.
Supported by current and previous cadet families.
Collected over 300 toys for Toys for Tots thus far.
Collected 900 canned goods for the Eagle Landing Association veterans canned food drive.
Raised $2,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Raised nearly $750 for Neurofibromatosis Type 1 research.
Hurricane Sally cleanup.
Assisted with American Legion Post 44 steak dinners and flag retirement.
Cadets also presented goals for the 2020-21 school year.
Sixteen cadets were presented medals for Best Uniform Inspection, while the Sixth Platoon was honored for the Most Outstanding Inspection.
RHS NJROTC is part of Area 8, which includes 49 member schools with over 5,000 cadets from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and the Florida panhandle.