Carson High Navy JROTC named Distinguished Unit

Carson High School Battalion Commander Cadet Diana Pierrott, left, with Executive Officer Cadet Allison Gerow share the excitement with the battalion cadets after the unit received the Distinguished Unit with Honors Award.

Carson High School Battalion Commander Cadet Diana Pierrott, left, with Executive Officer Cadet Allison Gerow share the excitement with the battalion cadets after the unit received the Distinguished Unit with Honors Award.

Carson High School’s Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program has earned a Distinguished Unit award with academic honors for the fifth consecutive year, Lt. Cmdr. Dan Meyer announced.
The school’s NJROTC cadets received a pennant and a flag that had been received through overnight mail for a surprise award ceremony on April 27 to honor the cadets’ hard work, he said.
“Everything we do counts,” Meyer, completing his eighth year with the program, said of the process his unit underwent to achieve the award. “We have a report that all the units submit. If we go to a drill meet, we get X amount of points. If we host a drill meet, we get points for that.”
Cadets who earn at least a 3.0 grade point average and perform community service also contribute points, with the U.S. Navy particularly interested in how well a student is excelling academically, Meyer said. Carson High students did well, Meyer said. While there were no appointments for students applying to any ROTC or service academies this year, last year there were two cadets who did.
With 177 cadets this year, a minor drop from 2020-21’s enrollment, he said there are 150 incoming freshmen next year, and the staff is encouraged by that after presentations were made at the middle schools. Work continues to shape any misconceptions that it’s not just for students solely interested in pursuing military careers, although the JROTC or NJROTC are viable programs for youth considering such paths.
“A lot of students and definitely parents don’t understand,” he said. “They think we’re a boot camp. We’re about leadership. It’s always good to do those presentations. They like the community service, the competitions.”
Meyer said the students enjoy performing the community service aspects of the program and engaging in the competitions.
“We’re like a family,” he said. “It’s kind of their niche. They like being a part of something. That draws them to it.”
Carson High competed in four drill competitions this year and three orienteering contests. It hosted the Navy National Orienteering Championships at the Joseph D. Grant County Park in San Jose in March, Meyer said.
Carson High’s program is a part of Area 13, made up of eight units in Alaska, California, Colorado, Guam, Idaho, Japan, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. For the award, area managers choose their top unit for the Distinguished Unit award to recognize up to 30 percent of host schools that meet certain criteria of excellence. Area 13 has 48 units, and 14 units can be selected as a “Distinguished Unit.”
Each area manager then selects one unit as the “Most Outstanding Unit” in their area, and this year Carson High School's NJROTC unit was selected as Area 13's Most Outstanding Unit. Area managers then submit nomination packages for area winners to the Naval Service Training Command for a competition to select the “Most Outstanding NJROTC Unit” in the nation. Each area and the national winner will receive a trophy from the Navy League. They also will recognize the additional top three units.
Meyer expressed his appreciation for the local community and business support for the cadets on a regular business, whether they donate money or cases of bottled water for physical activities.
He said he’d like to see the program expand again as restrictions loosen.
“We want to be involved in even more competitions,” he said. “We’ll have more opportunities for community service. We were really held back (with COVID-19), as well as getting more travel and taking cadets to more military installations. We would usually take a trip to San Diego. We want to do more fun things for the cadets. That’s the big vision.”

Principal Bob Chambers added the unit's achievement is to be commended.
"CHS' ROTC program is a cornerstone program for students to learn how to be leaders, whether that's in the classroom or outside of school," Chambers said. "The skills they learn in ROTC will help them achieve success in life. This recognition is well deserved."

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