Loudoun County High School (LCHS) is proud to be the home of one of the newest Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) units in the nation. Established in 2009, the unit begins its fifth year of operation this fall. As the first and only JROTC unit in the history Loudoun County, the LCHS NJROTC Unit is open to high school students across the county. The program includes students from all 13 high schools in the district for SY 2013-14.
The mission of the NJROTC program is to instill in students the ideals of Leadership, Character, Honor, and Service as the foundation for success in life. Although the program incorporates traditional military values and organization as a framework, it is not a recruiting program and participants are under no obligation or commitment to serve in the armed forces. However, for those who are interested in military service, benefits of successful participation in the program include qualification for a higher paygrade upon enlistment in any branch of service, as well as opportunities for college ROTC scholarships or service academy appointments. The program's focus on order, precision, self-discipline, respect for authority, ethical behavior, patriotism, service, and citizenship is designed to prepare students for success in life, regardless of their future plans.
The program is led by Commander Jeremy Gillespie
, Master Chief Deanna Foust, and Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Serrano. Serving all of Loudoun County, the NJROTC unit currently has over 200 students enrolled, including approximately 100 students who have transferred from other high schools within the county in order to be part of the program. Although students may elect to participate for only one or two years, the Naval Science curriculum is designed as a four-year course of study and students typically participate for at least three years. About 60 percent of class time is devoted to traditional instruction and 40 percent is spent practicing and honing leadership and followership skills, which includes instruction and practice in uniform wear and personnel inspections, drill, and physical training. Cadets wear their uniforms at least once a week for class meetings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and Thursdays and Fridays are devoted to fitness training. All uniforms, textbooks, training materials and equipment are furnished by the U.S. Navy at no cost to the individual student.
All first year students--freshmen through seniors--enroll in Naval Science 1. Students meet in class every other day for 90 minutes as with any other full-year, elective course. Naval Science 1 includes units on Career Planning; Basic Leadership; Citizenship and American Government; Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Navy; Wellness, Fitness and First Aid; and World Geography, Map Reading and Land Navigation.
The Naval Science 2 curriculum, for second-year students, includes study of Maritime History, Leadership, and Nautical Sciences (maritime geography, oceanography, meteorology, astronomy and physical science, including hydrodynamics, basic electricity and electronics, sound propagation and sonar).
Naval Science 3 encompasses topics in Naval Knowledge, including the study of Sea Power as it relates to National Security; Naval Operations and Support Functions; and Military, International and Admiralty Law, as well as topics in Naval Skills, including Ship Construction and Damage Control; Shipboard Organization and Watchstanding; Basic Seamanship; Marine Navigation; Rules of the Road and Maneuvering Board; and Naval Weapons and Aircraft.
Naval Science 4 is a seminar course including leadership case studies and leadership practicum, as students are assigned to senior positions responsible for planning and executing unit activities and functions.
In addition to classroom-based activities, the curriculum includes field trips and orientation visits to military bases and other sites of interest. Three to four such trips will be planned each year including day trips (Annapolis, Washington, Quantico, or Gettysburg, as examples) or overnight/multi-day trips (Norfolk, Newport, Boston, Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Hawaii, etc.). Cadets also undertake community service and outreach activities including environmental and conservation work; service to youth, the elderly, and the less fortunate; service to deployed military members and their families, veterans, and wounded service members; as well as support to local community activities and civic events (parades, wreath-laying ceremonies, commemorations, etc.)
The LCHS NJROTC Unit has formed several extra-curricular teams which practice before and/or after school and perform or compete with similar teams from other JROTC units across the area and nation. Teams include Drill/Color Guard, Orienteering, Fitness, Academic, and Marksmanship. These teams provide additional opportunities for cadet leaders to hone their management, leadership and planning skills, while providing participants the chance to have fun and compete, building esprit-de-corps as they put into practice precepts of focus, discipline, orderliness, attention to detail, self-control and teamwork.
Students or parents interested in learning more about the program are welcome to call or e-mail Commander Gillespie
, Master Chief Foust
, or Gunny Serrano
any time. The NJROTC classrooms are located in the LCHS Annex, which is a separate facility from the main school building on the right, back corner of the school property across the parking lot from the cafeteria--look for the blue awning and signal flags.