Cadets from the Tuloso-Midway NJROTC Unit took the time to travel across the country to participate in Basic Leadership Training (BLT) at the US Marine Corps Base Parris Island, SC, last week. For the first time ever, cadets from the unit got to experience life as a new Marine Recruit. Under the expert eye of an actual Marine Drill Instructor, the cadets completed events such as rappelling, the Obstacle and Confidence Courses, a Gas Chamber familiarization, and intense Close Order Drill (COD). Due the bus trip taking I-10 much of the way, the students also received instruction on such varied subjects as “Green Energy” by seeing the factory in Pensacola, FL, that manufactures the wind turbine generators used in South Texas and “The Civil War” by talking about the Battle Of Mobile Bay where Admiral Farragut spoke the famous line, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”. At a fuel stop in LA, it was noticed that the car next to the bus bore a US Naval Academy license plate. After asking the elderly driver if he was former Navy, it turns out that his name is Mr. Hugh Palmer and he was US Senator John McCain’s classmate at the Naval Academy in 1958 and he was driving to Galveston, TX, for their 58th Annual Class Reunion/Cruise. He was happy to see the next generation of young Navy cadets doing so well.

LCDR Joe Harmon, Senior Instructor, related, “It was a long bus trip but the cadets were able to see and do many new and exciting things that they may not have experienced before. Plus we got to see how the other services operate by touring a couple of Army bases, a US Marine Air Station, an operating US Navy helicopter training Outlying Field (OLF) at “Site 8” in Fl, as well as tour FAMU in Tallahassee, FL, where the Navy has a ROTC program for future Officers. We opened some doors for their futures, and that is what this program is all about”.