Steve Tynan, Reed High’s Navy JROTC Senior Naval Science Instructor, said the ‘scavenger hunt’ assignment for his cadets was more than a way to find out about aircraft and a way to ensure students were not galavanting about the Air Races. He said it was an exercise that will translate to the future lives of his students.
“It is a confidence builder for the kids to get out and talk to adults, because that is a scary thing,” Tynan said. “Imagine being a 14-year-old freshman and having to walk up and say, ‘Excuse me, what kind of airplane is that and how fast does it go?’ It is really good for them, and that is part of what the program is about, building their self confidence and the self-esteem.”
Joshua Mooney, Battalion Commander and senior at Reed, said the near 70 cadets were able to collect answers to various aircraft questions, and they also had a chance to speak openly with active and non-active military personnel. He said being visible in the community, being engaged with the battalion and improving communication among the cadets are all things he will be working on this year.
“This year, we are trying to increase our community service numbers and hours,” Mooney said. “We can help our community grow and become stronger. We performed at the Tailhook Convention a few weeks ago and our Color Guard will be at football games and various events to help make ourselves known and help the community at the same time.
“Something we are trying to implement this year is a lot of communication. In past years, the communication was not be as strong as it should have been and the battalion suffered because of that, but this year we are trying to go up and down the chain of command in all positions so we can work effectively as a group.”
Reed’s JROTC cadets will focus on the surrounding community this year, including the Truckee River Cleanup, adopting a local park, school beautification and many other community projects. Operations Officer Annabelle Gutierrez said she was pleased with the cadets’ reaction to the opportunity to talk to military pilots and personnel.
“What the ROTC program liked about it was the fact there were active-duty military personnel there and they were able to ask them about their experiences in the military,” she said. “That is what we want to build up, that patriotism to our services.”
Gutierrez said she has a certain goal in mind for this year’s students in hopes of creating a lasting impression younger cadets can carry on.
“One of our battalion goals this year is to instill pride in the unit,” Gutierrez said, “We want people to be proud of the fact they are in NJROTC, which is a very big deal for high school students, because you learn different responsibilities and how to be a better American citizen. That is a trait that is kind of diminishing in the American population.”
Tynan said his senior leadership this year is poised to bring the battalion to a new level. He has told his leaders the expectations are high though no certain goal was named, which he hopes will push future classes to aim even higher.
“I am incredibly excited about our staff this year,” Tynan said. “We have some real quality young leaders who are doing a spectacular job talking to their classmates, and they are not scared to come in here and talk to us to get ideas and relay that to their classmates. It is really phenomenal.
“I am looking forward to where this battalion can go this year. The class that is in leadership positions is just through the roof in terms of what they can accomplish. We have challenged them to set the bar high this year, even without a specific goal. So when they leave, the next group coming up wants to beat it. We want them working on a natural progression to get things better and better every year so the kids have more and more fun and stay active in their community.”