MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Out of 650 Navy Junior R.O.T.C.programs across the country, only 24 make it to nationals. For the first time ever, one of the N.J.R.O.T.C. programs headed to nationals next month is from Myrtle Beach High School.
“We’ve been getting closer and closer and closer,” said Landon Rhodes, senior at Myrtle Beach High School and N.J.R.O.T.C. cadet, “and now to finally reach that threshhold and make it, it’s just overwhelming. It’s amazing.”
“I mean 650 out of the nation, to be one of 24,” said David Kaiser, Senior Naval Science Instructor at Myrtle Beach High School, “we’re a small school, we’re not a rich school by any imagination. These kids come from mostly broken homes and families.”
“We’ve been competing all year, and our drill team is a sanctioned drill team at Myrtle Beach High School,” Said James Dalgarn Sergeant Major of the Myrtle Beach High School N.J.R.O.T.C. program. “What that means is we compete in all areas of athletics, academics, drill team, uniform personnel inspection.”
“We have skilled drill team members on our team and they try and put in the effort and the dedication and the hard work,” said William Durand, senior at Myrtle Beach High School and N.J.R.O.T.C. cadet. “We never quit and positive results came from positive attitudes.”
“What’s really neat about most of the kids we get here, down deep they’re actually looking for that set of boundaries, and so most of them respond very positively,” said Kaiser. “Takes a little bit. We’ve had some kids that were in a lot of legal troubles, school problems, stuff like that. And we were able to reach them, show them what their personal responsibility needs to be and turns them around.”
“It’s amazing,” said Rhodes. “I’ve never seen anything like it before I came here or even heard of it. It’s an opportunity to do a lot of great things, and to be a part of a bigger thing than yourself. This unit has been a second family to me. It’s just been amazing.”
The Myrtle Beach High School N.J.R.O.T.C. cadets need your help getting to nationals. They’re a small outfit, their entire booster club is just two moms. It’s going to cost around $15,000 to $20,000 to cover the expenses to Pensacola, Florida for the April 5 competition.
If you want to help out, you have two options, the Myrtle Beach Navy Junior R.O.T.C. Booster Club has a Venmo account set up. Or you can mail a check to: “Myrtle Beach Navy JROTC Booster Club” (Federal Employer’s ID Number: 45-3357569) and mail to PO Box 893, Myrtle Beach, SC 29578.