After uniforms had been ironed and shoes polished, Claremore’s JROTC was ready for inspection as Commander Merv Dial made his way to town Thursday.
“This is the kind of effort I like to see,” said Dial. “They did a good job.”
Following the fieldhouse inspection, students marched to Lantow Field to perform their drill presentation for Dial.
“I’m happy with the conduct of this unit,” he said. “I wish I could bring them with me to help instruct other struggling schools.”
In January, the group will compete in the Oklahoma City Drill Qualifier before moving on to Kansas City for regionals in February. Dial said JROTC is not only about pushups, yelling and drill meets, but also about preparing the students for life after high school.
“It is designed to teach students responsibility,” he said. “Whatever they decide to do next, whether it’s military, college, tech school or work, we can give them the skills they need to be successful.”
Claremore’s commander Murry Estabrook teaches all of the recruits to set goals early and then work to achieve them.
Those who need it, can receive help from upperclassman tutors who are also in JROTC.
“The ROTC tutors are very encouraging,” said Chief Instructor Skip Jasper. “It’s important that we make sure students’ grades remain above ‘sea’ level.”
Jasper said members put in a large amount of effort outside of school as well. The program completes more than 2,000 hours of community service, including volunteer work for Toys for Tots and the Veterans Center.
Along with community service, Naval JROTC promotes patriotism, habits of orderliness, personal honor and leadership skills.
“I think people are starting to realize the benefits of the program,” said Estabrook. “Over the past year we have seen a growth of about 35 to 40 percent.”
Currently, there are a total of 93 students, which is the largest group that Claremore has ever had.