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Volunteer NJROTC spends spring break in nation's capital

STAFF REPORT • Apr 22, 2018 at 7:30 PM

CHURCH HILL — Volunteer High School NJROTC cadets spent their spring break last month learning about their country’s history and government in Washington, D.C.

On Sunday, March 25, cadets arrived at the National Museum of the Marine Corps outside Quantico, Va., where they learned about the history of the Marine Corps and what it takes to make Marines.

The museum was filled with interesting exhibits and hands-on displays.

After the museum, the cadets ate dinner aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, then proceeded to Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB) to check in to their lodging.

The following day, Monday, the cadets visited the Pentagon via the Metro.

Senior Naval Instructor Maj. Steven Bickford noted that for many of the cadets, riding the Metro was the first time they had ridden a train.

“Before taking their tour, the cadets visited the outside 9/11 Memorial outside the Pentagon,” Bickford said. “This moving memorial demonstrated the magnitude of loss of lives when the Pentagon was attacked with a commercial airplane on September 11, 2001. After visiting the memorial, the cadets entered the Pentagon and received a tour from a soldier and airman assigned to the Pentagon tours staff.”

Bickford added, “The cadets enjoyed learning about the history of the building and seeing the building firsthand, including the courtyard in the middle of the building.”

Following the tour, cadets ate lunch and took the Metro to the Capitol, where they walked along the exterior and were able to see the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Senate and House office buildings.

The next day, cadets visited Washington Navy Yard, where they took a walking tour, examining the munitions and ordnance displays and seeing the home of the chief of naval operations home.

After lunch, cadets visited the National Museum of the Navy, where they learned about the history of the Navy and were better able to understand the vast transformation of the Navy from a wooden coastal fleet into the worldwide force of today.

“They most enjoyed the gun mounts from WWII ships that they were allowed to climb on and operate,” Bickford said. “After the museum, the cadets took a short bus tour by the Marine Corps Band practice hall and the Washington Marine Barracks, where they saw the home of the commandant of the Marine Corps. Back at JBAB, the cadets had dinner, visited the Navy Exchange and prepped to return home.”

Cadets returned home on Wednesday, but not before stopping at the campus of Virginia Tech for a campus tour and briefs about the Corps of Cadets and ROTC programs offered there.

When the cadets were asked to share their thoughts about the trip, Laken Wood said, “This trip was one of the best I’ve ever been on. The JROTC program has made it possible for me to experience things I otherwise wouldn’t be able to.”

Levi Trent said, “It was a lot of fun to see and experience all of these places with my friends.”

All of the cadets had the opportunity not only to visit the Capitol, but to learn some of its history as well as the history of the Navy and Marine Corps. All of the cadets returned home with new information and new college possibilities.

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