MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Hawaii - Sixty high school
students stepped out of the classroom to learn a lesson from
Marines during a weeklong visit to Marine Corps Base Hawaii
in June 2015.
The students were part
of the Cadet Leadership Course, a summer program for high
school students in the Junior Reserve Officers' Training
Corps. The majority of participants were from Oahu high
schools with an Air Force-affiliated JROTC. Three visiting
students came from Federal Way High School in Federal Way,
Wash. and were chaperoned by an instructor formerly based in
High school students attempt to complete a team-building mission at the Leadership Reaction Course at Boondocker Training Area aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii, June 9, 2015. A total of 60 students in the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps visited as part of a weeklong Cadet Leadership Course. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew F.
“Although we're an Air Force-affiliated
group, we really appreciate the great hospitality the
Marines have provided,” said retired Air Force Lt. Col. John
Sykes, the senior aerospace science instructor at Kaiser
High School. “They roll out the red carpet and provide our
students with really cool training opportunities.”
Students had a hands-on look at Marine Corps operations for
the six-day visit. The group stayed in barracks used by
visiting foreign military units and ate alongside Marines at
Anderson Hall Dining Facility. While on base, the cadets
completed routine morning physical training and interacted
with several base units.
Cadets learned about the
many career paths in the Marine Corps and developed their
leadership skills. Waterfront Operations taught the group
about Mokapu Peninsula and its security protocol. The cadets
saw aircraft in action with personnel from Marine Aircraft
Group 24. The group also toured and practiced with training
simulators on base.
The students also had the
opportunity to try out physical tasks Marines take on during
training. They handled physical obstacles while building
problem-solving skills in the Leadership Reaction Course at
Boondocker Training Area.
“(The LRC) is a good
opportunity to challenge the cadets mentally and
physically,” said retired Air Force Lt. Col. Ted Pierson,
the senior aerospace science instructor at Kailua High
School and who assisted in coordinating the events for the
Cadet Leadership Course. “They met (the day before) and had
to come together as a team. With the nine schools we have
participating, one person from each school was on each team
for the course.”
The group tested their strength
running the base's obstacle course and practiced principles
of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program with members of
Headquarters Battalion. With a final task of taking to the
skies with flight instructors out of Honolulu International
Airport today, the group is scheduled to graduate Saturday.
“They thrive with hands-on activities,” Sykes said.
“(The cadet's) reaction (to these activities) is great
versus only having lectures.”
The course runs every
two years. Due to high demand, students are only allowed to
participate in the course once in their high school career.
T.J. Tigley, a 15-year-old student from Kaiser High
School, said he's thankful for the opportunity to see Marine
Corps operations up close.
“I think this will have
the biggest impact on our skills and leadership,” Tigley
While they were visiting, the students took the
time to help the base community by assisting members of 1st
Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment with the cleanup of the
Mokapu Central Drainage Channel. On the first day of the
course, the students rolled up their sleeves to collect and
clear debris. The community service project was just as
significant to complete as the rest of the activities during
the week for Hanamei Shao, a 15-year-old Kaiser High School
“An important part of leadership is serving
the community,” she said. “Getting this experience makes it
even more meaningful for us to be here.”
aspiring to be an Air Force pediatrician, said JROTC is
great to join.
“You meet cool people and have a lot
of fun,” she said. “This has helped us grow and accept more
For other students looking to the
join the Marine Corps, the course offered a glimpse at a
future military occupational specialty. Brandt Kohrer, a
17-year-old student from Kapolei High School, said he plans
to join the Corps after he finishes college. Kohrer said he
would be the first Marine in his family and hopes to be an
infantry officer. Like several students in the course,
Kohrer said he was amazed at the Marines' dedication and
attention to detail.
“Halfway through my JROTC
program, as I was looking at the Marine Corps career
programs, I thought, ‘This is my kind of lifestyle,'” Kohrer
said. “The Marines treat everything importantly. There's
orderliness, pride in being on time and great camaraderie."
By Christine Cabalo, U.S. Marine Corps
The U.S. Marines
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