CCHS cadets conduct annual inspection

Churchill County High School Junior ROTC cadets pose for a group photo after their inspection.

Churchill County High School Junior ROTC cadets pose for a group photo after their inspection.
Photo by Steve Ranson.

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The inspection of Churchill County High School’s Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) program last week was the first for the cadets since the coronavirus pandemic shut down programs in the state after January 2020.

Judging by comments from the inspector and members of the CCHS JROTC program, the students “hit a homerun” with their knowledge of the program, their open-rank inspection and pass in review.

Retired Navy Command Master Chief Ken Ballard, the Citizenship Development manager based in Las Vegas for area 22, annually reviews the naval JROTC programs over a wide area of California and all of Nevada to include Reed and Carson City high schools and Churchill County in the northern part of the Silver State. Ballard said he looks at key areas during his visit.

“First the morale. I want to see how happy or how joyful cadets are,” Ballard said. ”This is a clear induction for me to see cadet success, retention and recruitment.”

Furthermore, Ballard said he also looks at the role of the instructors and cadets and the support offered from the school administration.

“We also want to see how happy the parents are,” he said.

During his morning visit to the school, Ballard said he looks at the communication among the cadets, morale and their dedication to practice close order drill. Furthermore, he looks at the students, and what they’re gleaning from the program.

“I look at what keeps cadets in the program and the memories they collect here,” Ballard said. “I see the friendships they forge and the partnerships they have with developed with other schools … the trips and all of those things that keep cadets in the program.”

Ballard said the JROTC programs are also progressing by adding the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) programs. Furthermore, he said the program is involved with cybersecurity.

“The Navy JROTC is not a recruitment for the military,” Ballard insisted. “We are a citizenship development program. My focus is on the three tenants: college, country and career.”

Ballard said Fallon has a strong JROTC program, stronger than what the instructors and students credit themselves.

“Often times, schools will compare to other schools instead of comparing to within themselves,” Ballard said. “This program is doing well.”

Retired Chief Petty Officer Keith Bryska said he was pleased with the cadets considering this was their first inspection since COVID-19 changed the method of instruction for a few years.

“The kids put in a lot of time and effort to prep for this inspection,” he said. “They learned a lot.”

Bryska said the students prepare year-round for inspections, and they invest many hours to prepare for last week’s visit from Ballard.

JROTC seniors Hally Wagner and Andrea Lattin said they were proud of their fellow cadets.

“I was very nervous, but I was excited to be part of it,” the program’s administrative officer said.

Wagner said the pass in review, the inspection and speeches were well done.

Prior to the inspection, cadets who held key leadership posts presented a briefing on their responsibilities and student involvement.

“I was proud of my staff,” she added,

Lattin, the operations officer, said everyone knew what to do.

“It was a good experience for us today,” she added.

Bryska said he was also impressed with their presentations and how the cadets conducted themselves before the audience.

“They really did a good job. I’m proud,” he said.


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