Wolfhounds aid JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge

| June 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

Courtesy photo

Story and photo by
JROTC Department
Punahou School

WAHIAWA — What happens when you take 69 high school JROTC cadets just days from sitting in classes to live in a full field environment on East Range Training Area for a week of challenging training?

Great things happen when your support unit is comprised of Soldiers of 4th Platoon, Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

Its leadership, including 1st Lt. Jim Cejka and Staff Sgt. Donald Castelow – both having just returned from a training exercise on Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii – provided the JROTC cadets of Punahou and St. Louis schools with a first-rate training experience, recently.

The units provided oversight of the Confidence Course and Leadership Reaction Course and set up a weapons system static display for the cadets during their training, here, June 5-9.

New heights-highlights
Topping it all off, the platoon also coordinated to procure master rappel qualified noncommissioned officers and coordinated with East Range Training Center to enable the cadets to rappel off a 45-foot tower.

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“Awesome! These guys were great, professional and courteous and respectful to us,” explained one JROTC cadet.

“I never realized the amount of technical stuff they need to know to do their jobs and how much is expected of our Soldiers,” explained another.

Cejka worked alongside newly commissioned University of Hawaii Army ROTC 2nd Lt. David Yoshimoto, who supervised a volunteer group of alumni cadre comprised of former JROTC cadets to mentor the cadets.

“I have been assisting this annual camp ever since I graduated from Punahou School,” explained Yoshimoto. “As alumni cadets, we have experienced what they are going through and know their expectations and limitations. This is really a great opportunity on our part to develop our own leadership skills and pay back in return for what we received from our experiences as former cadets.”

Officials coordinating the program described the purpose of this JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge (JCLC) encampment. It is intended to provide cadets with a physically and mentally challenging opportunity to employ leadership and teamwork principles learned in the classroom into a practical setting within a military environment.

Cadets are organized into platoons, and cadet leaders are selected to lead the element under the supervision of their retired Army cadre and volunteer alumni cadets. The cadets, including 20 female cadets and 49 male cadets from grades 9 to 12, gathered at the East Range Training Center on June 5 and foot marched 3 miles to a field bivouac site where they erected tents and began day and night land navigation training.

Courtesy photo

Throughout the week, the cadets lived and trained in the field environment until June 8 when they completed the LRC and finally got a shower before conducting drown proofing, swim relays and a confidence dive off the high board at Richardson Pool. Afterwards, the cadets excitedly enjoyed an hour of bowling at Schofield lanes before heading back to the field.

On June 9, the cadets struck camp and moved near the NCO Academy to conduct a final round robin of competitive events that incorporated all they had learned throughout the week.

“The best camp ever,” explained one cadet. “To think, we did all of these things with other students we did not even know until we got here was just amazing! Our platoon is so tight and we are so proud of each other!”

Cejka, Castelow and their fellow Wolfhound Soldiers agreed; supporting this group of high school cadets was inspiring.

“I totally respect these young men and women volunteering to give up a portion of their summer vacation to live and train Army style in the woods for a whole week,” said Castelow. “It makes you feel really good that we are able to share what we do for a living and that their respect for us comes right back.”

JROTC Punahou
The JROTC program at Punahou School operates a magnet program at no cost that allows students who do not have JROTC at their schools to enroll in the program at Punahou throughout the school year.
Contact retired Lt. Col. Bob Takao at rtakao@punahou.edu or call 944-5723 to find out more about this unique opportunity.


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Category: Community, Community Relations

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