The Carson High School NJROTC students shined in their pass in review inspections Wednesday.
The inspections happen every other year, where the NJROTC area manager comes to the school to make sure the students’ uniforms are correct and the NJROTC program is complying with standards.
“This is a cadet-run program, I oversee it but they are in charge,” said Lt. Commander Dan Meyer. “It is great for them.”
Each pass in review is an all-day process, as each individual is inspected along with the administration and supplies to make sure everything is correct and running smoothly in the program.
“I think they did outstanding,” Meyer said. “I have been doing this for 14 years and I say this is one of the best inspections I have had for sure.”
Then that night, the results of the inspection and awards are given out in front of friends, family and local dignitaries.
“You represent the core of what democracy and our country are about,” said Mayor Bob Crowell, a U.S. Navy veteran. “Those who proceed on (to the military) you have gained a great foundation, you will do well. And those who choose not to you have gained leadership skills you can use the rest of your life ... you have learned honor, integrity, value and heroism, all things that make our country great.”
Meyer said they had a great turnout of support from friends and family who packed the CHS gym Wednesday night.
“It is a great ceremony and I am proud of the parent turnout, I am very pleased,” Meyer said.
Friends and family had the opportunity to watch the cadets’ skills in action as they were given a sample of the variety of drill teams incorporated into the program. These teams compete against other schools in the nation from rifle team to orienteering.
“They love it, they work hard every day,” Meyer said.
More than 50 students received awards for perfect scores on their uniform inspections and were awarded with a number of ribbons.
“We had a respectable number of them,” Meyer said. “The captain always says that 10 percent is a good number to be at and we exceeded that.”
But the highlight of the night was the Beta Zulu award, given to programs for exemplary work. To receive it, leadership had to get above a 9.5 average score and the rest of the students had to get an 8.5 average score, and Meyer said both sections exceeded those necessary requirements.
“That was the goal to get that because that is a job well done,” Meyer said.
The students expressed overwhelming joy over the award, telling their instructor after the ceremony they almost burst into tears when they received it, as it had been four years since the program last had the award.
“They put in a lot of hard work to make this a success today,” Cadet Commander Chris Berggeren told the audience.
For Meyer, this was a special ceremony, as it marked his first group he watched progress from freshman to seniors.
“It was fun and exciting to see them progress through the years,” Meyer said. “They are all good groups but this, you can see how proud they are so that is why it was hard to fight back tears with the BZ award because they are like your own kids.”