Cliffs Of The Neuse Hosts JROTC’s Operation “Joint Thunder” (PHOTOS)

Cadets negotiate a simulated minefield while executing a Leadership Reaction Scenario. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Pfc. Peyton Ellis)

Cliffs Of The Neuse Hosts JROTC’s Operation “Joint Thunder” (PHOTOS)

Rosewood High School (Eagles) and Charles B. Aycock High School (Golden Falcons) JROTC’s from Wayne County N.C. conducted a one-day JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge summer camp at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, Seven Springs, N.C. with support from the North Carolina National Guard on June 11, 2021.

JCLC is a summer camp that provides JROTC Cadets with leadership and team-building training that will benefit them throughout their high school, college and, chosen careers.

The name of the Camp was Operation “Joint Thunder” which signified the intensity and motivation of the two schools working together to host a mentally and physically challenging camp.  The entire camp was staffed by the JROTC graduated Class of 2021.  These former Cadets served as the cadre (supervising staff) for the training.

Cadets were chosen to represent his/her assigned school at the JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge based on their overall performance in Army JROTC and in High School.  The selected Cadets received training and participated in missions that included First Aid, Land Navigation, and Leadership Reaction Scenarios.

The Cadets had the additional mission of negotiating through challenging terrain at the state park while conducting various challenging missions as a squad. In addition, each cadet was evaluated at least once in a leadership position. The events of the day culminated with a graduation that was attended by friends and family.

“Throughout the training, the cadets were able to build camaraderie, trust, and learn to work together as a team,” said retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Moye Jr., Charles B. Aycock’s JROTC Army Instructor.

“Their motivation, dedication, and squad teamwork concept throughout the missions showed a sense of pride, representing themselves and their schools,” said retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Dinah Uzzell-Tootle, Rosewood’s JROTC Army Instructor. “I truly think the Cadets enjoyed seeing each other and appreciated their parents for supporting them in this effort of training.”

What was also unique was the recently graduated senior cadets served as the primary planners and cadre for the camp.  Beginning in March 2021 in a COVID challenging learning environment, JROTC Cadet battalion staffs from both high schools began joint planning for this operation/camp.  The staffs held weekly Google Meet joint coordination meetings and developed a joint tasking order (plan).  They conducted joint rehearsals and concluded with a joint After-Action Review (camp assessment).

“This was a great training exercise for both schools and demonstrated the ability of our cadet staffs to work as a dynamic planning team,” said retired Army Maj. Anton Alston, Charles B. Aycock’s Army JROTC Senior Army Instructor.

“To have our graduating cadets essentially plan and execute the entire mission exemplifies what we are striving to achieve with our students; to see what needs to be done to ensure success and follow through on the plan.  To be leaders,” said retired Army Capt. Jeremy Peters, Rosewood’s JROTC Senior Army Instructor.

Typically this camp is held at Oak Ridge Military Academy, Oak Ridge N.C. with 20 or more high schools from North Carolina and Virginia areas. Last year it was canceled due to COVID restrictions.

“It was rewarding to see the resiliency of the Eagle and Falcon battalion’s Cadets.  They were not going to be denied a second year without a summer camp because of COVID,” said Peters. “The pandemic did not stop the Perseverance of JROTC Cadets to ensure this Leadership Challenge Camp was successful,” said Uzzell-Tootle.

Article submitted by retired Army Maj. Anton Alston


From upper left to right Cadets Ethan Laseter, Kimberly Rodriguez, Gabriel Lefkowitz, Robert Walker, Cameron Langley, Garrett Kentch, Andon Timmons, Kevin Morris, Jasmine LaTour, and William Waidner Bottom from left to right Graduated Seniors Christopher Ellis, Mya Artis, Marcus Planck, and Nathaniel Pender. Graduated Seniors not pictured Jared Barnes and Cameron Revels
(Photo Credit: U.S Army Pfc. Peyton Ellis)