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MCJROTC goes commando

12 Mar 2010 | Lance Cpl. M. C. Nerl

Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets from Sweetwater High School in National City, Calif., traveled to the Combat Center this week to participate in and learn about what real Marines do on a day-to-day basis, and get a taste of Marine life in the Fleet.

The cadets ran drills and obstacle courses, and enjoyed Marine cuisine while they furthered their knowledge about Marines aboard the base, said Sgt. William C. Shepherd, a chaperone to the group, and a native of Fayetteville, N. C.

“They’re going to be here for four days,” Shepherd said on Tuesday, cadets’ first day of training and education. “They’re starting off by running the Combat Fitness Test, as well as learning about [the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program], trying on gear and visiting EOD.”

Shepherd said they also received a tour of the installation’s facilities used for training Marines before they deploy.

“They’ll get to shoot off a few rounds at the [Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer], and learn about what Marines do to shoot,” he said. “They’ll get to check out the [Expeditionary Air Field], too and hopefully watch a few planes land.

“They’re going to get to run through the virtual vehicle simulators at Camp Wilson, too, so they can see what Marines do before they deploy,” he added.

Shepherd added it was a rewarding experience, and he was glad he jumped at the opportunity to work with the Marine Corps’ future prospects.

“This is my first time working with a group like this,” he said. “I consider myself a career Marine.”

Shepherd said he holds these situations in very high esteem because he gets a chance to show kids who are interested in joining the Corps how Marines live, work and play aboard the Combat Center.

The cadets’ Marine instructor, retired Chief Warrant Officer 3 Gerry Forand, a Chula Vista, Calif., native, said the trip is a good learning experience for his students.

“When we make these [Training Command] funded trips every year, it’s great for the kids,” Forand said.

Forand added the students got a great taste, both literally and figuratively for what Marines do right now.

One of the 34 cadets mirrored his mentor’s opinions of the education.

 “Its fun to be on a Marine base,” said Arturo Guzman, a National City native. “I really want to join one day, and it’s cool to see all the stuff Marines get to do and spend a couple of days training like them.”

A second group of cadets is also scheduled to take a tour of the Combat Center next week to get a taste of what the Marine Corps has to offer.

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