Top down, CHS’s NJROTC honors are a team effort

Carson High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps’ Color Guard team presents the color during the unit’s awards night May 9.

Carson High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps’ Color Guard team presents the color during the unit’s awards night May 9.
Photo by Jessica Garcia.

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Carson High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps love their royal blue.

They had been awaiting word of their annual inspection on Jan. 24. The payoff recently came May 9 during NJROTC’s annual awards ceremony when the unit’s senior naval science instructor Lt. Cmdr. Dan Meyer waved a yellow flag and told them they hadn’t earned their typical “Distinguished Unit” status. When Battalion Commander Noah Bean was called up, Meyer handed him the royal blue flag and Bean triumphantly held it up high, cadets beamed with pride.

“We don’t like yellow,” Meyer told his cadets.

Carson ranked third out of 30 area schools in Area 22 based on its excellence in its training, community service and academic achievements.

The honor makes the unit’s seventh consecutive recognition.

This month, NJROTC cadets were honored for their achievements in Carson High’s Morse Burley Gymnasium. “Cadet of the Year” Cadet Chief Petty Officer Vivi Mellow was honored among her peers, and the battalion’s change of command occurred. Outgoing Battalion Commander Noah Bean gave leadership over to incoming Battalion Commander Neva Mellow.

More than 15 local organizations, including veterans’ associations, civic groups and associations, in the community were recognized for their contributions to the NJROTC. Cadets received sponsored awards and scholarships for outstanding performance in leadership, drill competitions and excellence in naval science studies.

Meyer was recognized by the Navy League of the United States Carson City Council #357.

The students always look forward to being recognized individually, but as a unit, the icing on the cake is what they accomplish together as a team. The awards night celebrates individual achievements and the unit’s dedication to its training throughout a school year. But mid-year, the unit undergoes its annual inspection by their area manager. Carson’s cadets presented their goals, objectives and work to school administrators, legislators, law enforcement officials and business representatives. They reported on their academic performance and extracurricular activities this year, impressing adults with crowded schedules of sports, community service, fundraisers and future dreams.

Retired Command Master Chief of the Navy Ken Ballard, a 26-year veteran, called himself a student of leadership and was intrigued by Carson High’s unit after watching students in January, some of whom plan to continue their education and several whom plan a military path of their own. Having come from “backwoods Missouri,” military service was never a question for him growing up in his family.

“I knew I was going to serve at a very early age,” he said. “In a casual discussion with my Pops one day, I knew I was going to commit. We went through the branches of service, and I knew I was going into the Navy. When I graduated in May, I joined the Navy.”

Ballard enlisted on his father’s birthday and during his travels as a servicemember, he obtained a dream job on a new ship. He befriended other Marines and became a command senior chief. He was elevated to an area manager after less than four years as an instructor.

But even with all of his experience, he said, he never came across someone who runs a program like Meyer does at Carson High.

“I see a lot of interesting things, and I was telling Cmdr. Meyer, ‘I’m not here to inspect the program because I know all of the great work you all do,’ ” Ballard told the Appeal in January. “ ‘I’m here to collect a lot of your gems, your lessons learned so I can share with all the other schools and to enhance their work.’ ”

During inspections, he enjoys learning about the personalities each unit develops and cadet leadership. Ballard says there’s one fundamental truth to glean from Carson High’s program.

“There’s only one Dan Meyer,” he said. “One of the things I’ve noticed here is there’s definitely a bias for action. I do not see the senior leaders waiting to be told to do things. You know what the goals and expectations are, so let’s just go get it done.”


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