JROTC Cadets in the News
Junior ROTC camp focus: Teaching leadership
by Darlene J. Taylor
CLARKSBURG - The Robert C. Byrd High School Junior ROTC is combining leadership training and fun during the Officer Training/Summer Camp being held through Friday at the school.
Approximately 40 candidates and tactical officers are training to become potential officers in the Army Junior ROTC. Junior and senior upperclassmen are teaching and inspecting the candidates as they learn basic leadership functions.
"The emphasis is to teach to be leaders, " said Lt. Col. Peter Taylor, who runds the program. "Each day there is a new platoon leader, sergeant and hree squad leaders who must keep order with a group of eight or nine cadets. They are graded on their leadership and instructing abilitity."
Evan Foster is a junior and OCS candidate. The training he receives this week will help him with his endeavor to become commissioned as a second lieutenant in the JROTC program.
Tactical Officer Shane Wilhelm said the most difficult part is teaching the cadets self-discipline.
Ten incoming cadets also are participating in the week-long summer camp that features rappelling, rope bridging, a leadership reaction course, public service and marksmanship training.
Taylor explained that a $3,800 grant from the National Rifle Association has enabled the school to purchase five complete sets of rifle marksmanship equipment to enhance this particular training.
The equipment replaces the older model, pump-action pellet rifles that the cadets had used since the start of the program in 1993, Taylor said.
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The new rifles use CO2 compressed air and are easier for novice shooters to learn how to use. The sets include shooting-mats, kneeling pads, new pellet stands and scopes, Taylor said.
Each year more than 100 cadets undergoe rifle marksmanship training that includes classroom instruction in care, safety and safe handling of weapons before actually firing one. Those cadets who exhibit skill are often invited to participate with the rifle team.
The RCB rifle team, coached by First Sergeant Robert Brownfield, has won none state championships. The team has also participated at the national level and in 2008 won the prestigious North American Cup, competing against teams in the United States, Mexico and Canada.
"This equipment allows us to expand our program from two to three four-man teams," Brownfield said. "Overall, it gives them better equipment that is up to date with other JROTC programs across the country."
Tactical Officer Justin Leary got the opportuniy to try out the new equipment Tuesday.
"It is faster and more accurate." Leary said.
The new cartidges travel at about 800 feet per second while the older ones traveled at approximately 400 feet per second.
"The sights are way better," added Felicia Hollandsworth.
Junior Hannah Fryzel said she hopes to participate in the ROTC program for the Air Force at West Virginia University where she also wants to be a part of the rifle team.
"I enjoy the ropes course here the best," she said. "We had fun at the summer camp held at Fort Knox (Ky.) doing the same course."
Officer Candidate School concludes with a formal graduation ceremony at 2 p.m. Friday and is open to the public.
For information call Taylor or Brownfield at 326-7230.
Staff write Darlene J. Taylor can be reached at 626-1403 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Previous News stories
Teens put to test at Army’s Fort A.P. Hill
Story by Melissa Nix
Photos by John Tully
[Note: Mary Smith is a Cadet Captain in the Robert C. Byrd High School JROTC program]
“AS SHE FELL backward, she began to scream¬ her face became rigid and her eyes widened with fear:
When Shanelle Savoy, 15 reached the ground a good 34 feet below, those around her broke into applause. Her grimace became a grin and she giggled.
Her friend Shay—Queen Darby, 16, ran to hug her. Just moments before, Shay-Queen had been coaxing Shanelle down Rappel Tower 3 with whoops of “you go Mama. YOU Can do it!”
Camp Success, the annual JROTC summer camp hosted by Fort A.P Hill in Caroline County was in full swing this week. The camp is enjoying the most popular session in its 12 year history.
Hundreds of cadets from Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and the District of Columbia had the chance to attend this year – 731 in total. 10th and 11th graders, all members of their high schools’ Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps programs—had been divided into four companies: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Della.
As the members of Bravo Company ran through the woods, traversed rope bridges and rappelled down steep walls, they encouraged one another arid showed off their leadership skills. The cadets are competitive, and they often chanted their Company motto in the spirit of a team: “Forget about the A to the C to the D-the best company begins with a B! Bravo! Hooah!”
There are scores of JROTC summer camps in the country but in the Southeast “this Camp is No. 1, “said Maj. Lee Bowman one of the several retired Army officers who serve as instructors at the camp. He also is Camp Success’ public affairs officer and the senior instructor at Anacostia Senior High School’s JROTC program in Washington.
Back at the rappel tower; Cadet Capt. Mark Wood, a rising junior at Hamlin High School in Lincoln County, W. Va., was looking over the 34 foot wall. He began to say the “Our Father.”
“This is where you get religion,” Bowman said, referring to the rappel exercise.
“I’ve even had them pee on me,” said Maj. Randy Matheny, senior Army instructor at three high schools in Wythe County, Matheny was coaching cadets about to descend the tower. Another instructor held the ropes taught below.
Col. Steve Mifflin, as one of two certified rappel masters in charge of the exercise, patrolled the tower and double-checked equipment. “This is the highlight of the camp,” said Mifflin, the JROTC senior instructor at Meadowbrook High School in Chesterfield County”…seeing someone shaking and crying…and then they come down and give you a thumbs-up”
The campers rise daily at 4:30 a.m. Breakfast is followed by calisthenics, running and the day’s training activities. The cadets have free time and play sports in the afternoon.
“It’s a blast,” said Cadet Master Sgt. Gessica Rice, a 16-year-old who attends Hopewell High School in Hopewell. “These people show us the real military. If they march in step, we have to march in step. The barracks have to be spick-and-span, and we have to mop the floor-military style.”
Three other cadets demonstrated the mop style. “If you mop in a figure eight, it goes faster!”
For Cadet Cpl. Staphany Harrold, a 15-year-old at Petersburg High School in Petersburg, W. Va., the JROTC experience boils down to one thing: respect.
“I learned respect for everyone, especially yourself,” said Harrold, as she waited to cross the “weaver,” a series of wooden planks the cadets push their bodies up, over and through, much like a shuttle on a loom. Harrold plans to go to college and be a veterinarian.
Cadet Cpl. Dono James, 15, attends Atholton High School in Columbia, Md. “JROTC has taught me to be more open to people’s ideas and listen to people,” James said.
The national JROTC program is supposed to expose high-school-ers to elements of the military lifestyle, while building self-esteem, teamwork and leadership skills. But camp reinforces such positive skills. But it also exposes kids to different ways of life.
“There’s a cultural thing going on here,” said Col. Joseph E. Nickens, Camp Success’ commandant. “Kids are exposed to different mind-sets. We’ve got kids from south-southeast Washington, DC, working with kids from embassy schools on the north-northeast.”
Cadet Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Spruel, a 17-year-old at Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro, recommended the JROTC experience for its sense of adventure and leadership training.
“A lot of people don’t want to join because they think it will lead [them] to Iraq and enlistment, but that’s not true,” Spruel said.
It teaches leadership, he said “which is just as important in the civilian world as in the military world.”
Still Spruel plans to join the Marine Corps. He’s not fazed by the prospects of being sent to Iraq.
“It’s a part of my job. I’ll go where they tell me to to.”
An informal survey of 22 cadets on lunch break revealed and interest in military service. Only five of the 22 teens said they had no interest in serving in the military. The rest of the group plans to join-either after high school or upon completion of college.
“That’s my West Pointer,” said Maj. Annie L. MacNeil as she pointed to Shay-Queen Darby, who was running to another station on the wooded course. MacNeil is the senior Army instructor at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Washington, and the only woman senior instructor in the district.
But Nickens was adamant that the JROTC program is not a recruiting tool.” The mission of this program is to motivate kids to become better citizens-to finish high school and get them into college or prep them for the world of work.”
JROTC cadets take to skies
RCB pupils experience flight in Guard copter by Bob Stealey, EDITOR
CLARKSBURG - Helicopter flights over Clarksburg and vicinity Friday may well have been, collectively, an effective recruitment exercise for nearly 70 cadets in the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps at Robert C. Byrd High School.
Senior Army Instructor retired Lt. Col. Peter Taylor described the approximately 10-minute round trips as orientation flights for cadets.
Flights were coordinated by retired 1st Sgt. Robert Brownfield, who said he hadn’t talked to a cadet who had flown and wouldn’t go again.
“(A large) percentage of the cadets who took the flight hand never flown before, “Brownfield said, “We believe it helps to orient them for the military.”
Generally there were 10 people on each flight, Brownfield said. These included two pilots, one crew chief and seven cadets, he said.
“We had planned the flights for last week, but because of rain we were forced to postpone them,” Brownfield said.
A pilot, Sgt. 1st Class Dan Webb of the West Virginia Army National Guard, termed it “a great opportunity for the cadets to hve them do something like this. It gives them a chance to check it our.”
The JROTC cadets were given a safety briefing by Brownfield before boarding the UH1 helicopter.
While waiting his turn to fly, Cadet William Clark of Clarksburg, a sophomore as RCB said, “It’s very educational because it gives us experience in the field. Plus, it’s a way to help us towards a career.
“Maybe it would persuade us to join the military or at least help us decide what we want to do wit our lives.”
Another cadet, Michael Menendez, a freshman from near Quiet Dell, also was grateful to have the experience such as an overflight.
“It can help us with anything we may want to do towards our careers whether it’s in the military or in some other type of career,” he said. “It helps us to prioritize.”
Brownfield said the cadets were also taken to visit the Antietam Civil War battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md., Thursday.
Editor Bob Stealey can be reached at 626-1438 or by e-mail at email@example.com
by Darlene J. Taylor
CLARKSBURG - Four members of the Robert C. Byrd JROTC rifle team are heading to, Fort Benning, Ga., Wednesday for national competition.
Seniors Matt Mackey and David Higgins, sophomore Emily Grant and freshman Jeremy Scheuvront will compete individually against a minimum of 50 teams from across the coun¬try.
The RCB rifle team last competed in the national competition in 2000 — against approximately 900 shooters, said Lt. Col. Peter Taylor, one of the team’s two range officers and instruc¬tors.
“It’s very difficult to determine our chances,” Taylor said. “Each student fires 60 rounds at a target. I think our group can and will be among the top 24. That is my hope.”
That is also the hope of the four national qualifiers on the RCB rifle team, which currently holds the state title. The RCB team has 13 members. Its biggest state rivals are Capital High in Charleston and Preston High.
The Junior Reserve Offi¬cer Training Corps is also a stepping stone and boost for those who decide on a mili¬tary career.
“If you earn a rank in JROTC and go to the mili¬tary, you enter as a private first class,” Scheuvront said.
Grant is one of only two girls on the RCB team and the only female to qualify
“It takes patience, confidence, practice and concen¬tration. It’s not for every¬one,” Grant said. “And, it’s cool to be able to kick the guys’ butts.”
She is currently ranked ninth in the state in shooting in a prone (lying on the floor on stomach) position.
Scheuvront explained that the members of the Eagle Battalion begin with a pump-action weapon shooting to qualify to shoot a CO2 rifle.
The freshman did well at marksmanship, and First Sgt. Robert Brownfield sug¬gested he try out.
“And, football season was over,” said Scheuvront, who is currently No. 6 in the state in shooting in a stand¬ing position and No. 10 in kneeling and prone posi¬tions. Grant and Scheuvront said JROTC is not as physi¬cal as other sports.
“It opens it up to more people. And, this is an individual sport,” Scheuvront said.
It is also an opportunity to travel, meet new people and work with team members from throughout the state, he said.
“Other groups and clubs are stereotypical,” Grant said. “There are a lot of different types of students coming together to participate in something we enjoy: JROTC.”
Scheuvront added that team members get along like brothers and sisters — without the fighting.
Parents of the national contenders say the team has been good for the students.
“I think it’s great she has made it to the nationals,” said Trish Grant, mother of Emily. “She’s come a long way. It has helped her whole personality.”
Debbie Mackey said it is wonderful that her son Matt is one of the members going to Fort Benning in his senior year.
“I’m really proud of him. He enjoys it, and I think it’s great,” she said.
Rick Greynolds, Scheuv¬ront’s stepfather, said he is impressed with Jeremy’s achievements with the rifle team.
“He has acquired dedica¬tion and discipline,” Greynolds said. “He has matured a lot more from this program than football.”
Staff writer Darlene J. Taylor can be reached at 626-1403 or by e-mail at
Statt photo by Bob Shaw
2010 Veterans Day
CLARKSBURG -- Harrison county Schools have a number of activities and events planned to celebrate Veterans Day.
Throughout the county, teachers have geared their instruction and lesson plans to educate students on the importance of the holiday and the impact of war veterans on the history of the country
lhese men put their lives on the line toT our country, and very important that our students know,” said John Rogers, - principal at Mountaineer Middle School. “Because of what they did, we continue to have freedom.
Joflee Foster. principal at Nutter Fort Intermediate, agreed. I think it’s important to know the history of our country and what the veterans have done for us.” she said. “It’s an important part of histoiy because what they have given up.
Many schools also have held or planned special events in honor of local veterans. At Liberty High School, about 15 veterans from all military branches were brought in to speak to students about what being a veteran means to them.
Principal Pam Knight said. The speakers also gave an overview of what they did in the armed forces and took from the students, she said.
"I think often the importance of Veterans Day is minimized and students do not have a full blown idea of what it means," Knight said. "This program has been a huge sucess here."
Robert C. Byrd High School will hold its annual Veterns Dau celebration at the school today, Lt. Col. Peter A. Taylor said.
"The ceremonies will begin at 10:15 a.m. at the school's flagpole with the presenting of arms and raising of the U.S. flag, he said. A speech and poem written by a student highlighting the significance of the holiday will also be presented, Taylor said.
Something new this year will be a live broadcast of interviews with two veterans at the school's television studio, he said. Veterns will also visit classrooms throughout the school to talk to students
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