Churchill County High School’s Navy Junior ROTC cadets experienced what their counterparts at many naval facilities face: an open ranks inspection followed by a pass in review.
Retired Navy Capt. Daniel Wenceslao, who conducted the formal inspections two years ago, said he was pleased to learn of the program’s increase with the number of cadets. When he first inspected the cadets in January 2016, the JROTC program had 77 students in the four-year program; this year the number is holding steady at 125.
Retired Navy Capt. Robert Kerman, senior naval science instructor who served in Vietnam, said the high school program receives a formal inspection every other year and an inspection from the Naval Air Station Fallon commanding officer in the odd-number years.
“The inspection in the off-year is like the active duty, but this year’s depends on more time on detail,” Kerman said. “Next time, they (cadets) will be familiar with ‘upping their game.’”
Wenceslao enjoys working with the high-school cadets as manager for JROTC Area 13 that includes Japan, Guam and most of the West except for Southern California and the Southwest states of New Mexico and Arizona. For the past decade, he has been involved with the NJROTC program. As a naval aviator, he flew an ES3 Viking, a four-seat, twin-engine turbofan-powered jet aircraft that was used to identify and track enemy submarines and trained twice at Naval Air Station Fallon, once as executive officer of a carrier air wing and the other as a carrier air wing commander.
For more than an hour, Wenceslao inspected the command staff and four companies and paid attention to the placement of rank and awards and overall military bearing.
His eyes also focused on grooming, shiny belt buckles and polished shoes as the cadets’ commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Kyla Fabian, carried a clipboard and took notes.
The command staff also spent their lunch hour with Wenceslao and presented a briefing on the unit’s functions and goals. Wenceslao commented on many of Fabian’s points.
Afterward, Wenceslao was complimentary during the briefing.
“The biggest indicator of how the staff is doing is from the inspection,” Wenceslao said.
Fabian said JROTC currently have two foreign exchange students in its ranks, one from the Czech Republic and the other from Spain. She discussed the unit’s fundraising campaign for 2017-2018 and morale boosters.
Wenceslao also learned the cadets have improved their recruiting by going to the middle school each year to issue programs and demonstrate their military skills.
“The unit is doing fine,” Wenceslao said. “Cadets tend to have the best attendance records and higher grades. They’re a credit to their community.”
Wenceslao said CCHS has a young staff and is learning, something he sees quite often at the schools he inspects. He said cadets need to hold respect that comes from being flag officers.
Furthermore, Wenceslao ensures the program from the school district and looks at classroom and office space to see if instructors are teaching the curriculum. The inspection concluded with a pass in review in the gym from the unit’s four companies and command staff.
Kerman said he was pleased with the inspection and said the cadets performed well.