Story Number: NNS140310-04Release Date: 3/10/2014 1:17:00 PM
By Midshipman 2nd Class Taija McGeachy, FAMU NROTC
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (NNS) -- Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University's (FAMU) Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) recently hosted its annual "Rattler Challenge", a Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) Drill Meet competition for hundreds of high school students, Feb. 22.
The annual event provided the FAMU and Florida State University (FSU) midshipmen an opportunity to give back to the community for both the university and its Naval ROTC program.
More than 350 students from 16 high schools within two
NJROTC regions from Florida and Georgia participated in events such as close order drill, uniform inspections, and physical competitions, according to retired Navy Cmdr. Dirk Hebert, NJROTC Area 7 Manager and event coordinator.
The FAMU Professor of Naval Science (PNS), Col. Clarke Henderson, assigned Midshipman 3rd Class Yolanda Lopez as officer-in-charge. She planned and coordinated the event in conjunction with Herbert, who said the FAMU drill meet was the largest NJROTC event held in this region. FAMU faculty and friends were also in attendance. The Dean and Assistant Dean of the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Dr. Robert Taylor and Dr. Michael Thomas; plus over 150 parents, friends, and family joined the midshipmen and high school students for the event-packed morning and afternoon.
"It took me about three months of preparation for the drill meet. I like to think of myself as the behind the scenes person. I organized the event and made sure everything was ready to go and we had everything we needed," Lopez said. "There would be no event if it was just me. It was truly a full team effort of all FAMU and FSU Midshipmen who acted as liaisons between schools as well as organizing supplies, setup and cleanup, and judging events. Every midshipman had a vital role in the execution of the drill meet."
Following the event, Dean Taylor and his wife stayed on to assist in handing out trophies and medals to the winning individual participants and school teams. Escambia High School from Pensacola, Fla., won first place in overall score. The win brought pride for the high school students and current FAMU Battalion Rattlers who graduated from Escambia.
Midshipman Second Class Victoria Hill, Escambia graduate, assisted her alma mater as their liaison. "It's a great experience being from an NJROTC background and now being in NROTC. I feel very proud being able to see my high school win," said Hill. "I just wanted to jump on the field and be out there drilling again"
"The Rattler Battalion thanks Dean Taylor for his continued support of the unit, as well as to the FAMU Army ROTC unit and staff for the use of their facilities," said Henderson.
The NROTC program, overseen by Rear Adm. Dee L. Mewbourne, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) at Naval Station Great Lakes, was established to develop midship-men mentally, morally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, loyalty and Navy core values in order to commission college graduates as Naval officers who possess a basic professional background, are motivated toward careers in the Naval service and have a potential for future development in mind and character so as to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.