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NJROTC wins big at Nationals

On Feb. 2, the Picayune Memorial Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp. competed against 66 other units at the American Legion Coca Cola national Drill Championship Meet in Montgomery, Ala. The NJROTC placed 2nd in the nation overall in the unarmed regulation division.

“This is a really tough meet,” said Chief Mark Thorman. “It is all service and that means we had all the services represented, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Army.”

In the unarmed regulation division, the four disciplines are Color Guard, Inspection, Unarmed Regulation, Unarmed Exhibition. Thorman said, “The Picayune Memorial unit in unarmed regulation placed 5th in the nation (all services). In unarmed exhibition, 7th in the nation; unarmed inspection, 7th in the nation; color guard, 3rd in the nation; and to conclude we were ranked 2nd in the nation overall in the unarmed regulation division, just missing 1st in the nation by 5.5 points. Wow!”

Last year, the team placed 4th in the nation overall.

American Legion Post 73 and VFW Post 3804 of Picayune have supported NJROTC every year for the past thirteen years with a combined total of over $26,000. “They have been a major reason our cadets have been able to make the trips and do so well,” Thorman said.

The NJROTC is a voluntary elective. “I’m a Life Coach, a Life Saver. These kids want to be here, and because of that it makes it easier for me,” Thorman said, “but, I take it seriously that they need excellent life (skills) training. I do my best to provide that.”

Asked about the key to their success, Thorman replied, “An emphasis on loving and supporting our great country through community service and patriotic development. The PMHS NJROTC motto: ‘You might out drill us, but you’ll never out lead us!’”