Purdue University NROTC hosts

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Story by Scottt Thornbloom on 12/14/2018
LAFAYETTE, Ind. (December 8, 2018) -- The Purdue University Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) hosted their Ninth Annual Black and Gold Drill Meet for Indiana and Illinois Navy and Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC/MCJROTC), Dec. 8.

Four high school teams from Indiana (Michigan City, Pike, Portage and Warren Central) and one high school team from Illinois (East Aurora) competed in seven drill events in the university's military armory, home of the Navy, Army and Air Force ROTC units. Several schools brought enough cadets to enter two teams.

"This is an annual competition we hold for area NJROTC units," said Capt. David Bretz, professor of Naval Science and commanding office of the Purdue NROTC unit. "The drill meet is a great opportunity for the cadets to come and show us their skills in different drill events. It's also a wonderful chance for my midshipmen to show off their leadership skills in planning and coordinating the day and also judging the events."

The Purdue NROTC unit set up three drill decks in the armory and one classroom was used for personnel inspections. Several of Purdue's midshipmen scored and ranked each NJROTC unit in Armed Squad and Platoon Basic, Armed Squad and Platoon Exhibition, Unarmed Platoon Basic, Color Guard and the Personnel Inspection. Each event involved military drill maneuvers. Armed Exhibition requires more skills using their rifles in choreographed flips, twirls and facing movements. The midshipmen judged each NJROTC unit using a point system.

East Aurora Navy JROTC finished with the most points to be named overall champion. Michigan City Marine Corps JROTC finished in second place while Pike NJROTC came in third.

"It's always a good feeling to win a drill competition. It keeps us motivated going forward to future events," said Cadet Capt. Javier Munoz, 17, a senior and regimental cadet commanding officer for the East Aurora unit. "Even though we won, I hope the unit critiques their mistakes and understands we have to and want to keep pushing ahead because we really want to go to Navy Nationals (Navy National Academics, Athletics & Drill Championship at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida in April 2019) or All-service Nationals in Daytona, Florida."

Retired U. S. Navy Chief Gunner's Mate Albert Farmer, a Naval Science Instructor for the East Aurora "Tomcat" regiment, called the win a testament to the work the cadets put in every year.

"Anytime we win a drill competition reassures the unit how much their hard work pays off," Farmer said. "They've created an atmosphere and attitude where they expect to win."

According to Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Joshua Calkins, the Assistant Marine Officer Instructor (AMOI) for the Purdue NROTC unit, 40 of the 140 midshipmen in the unit participated in the drill meet. He said coordinating and hosting the event gives the midshipmen leadership experience.

"This is fun for us to be able to put this on and let the midshipmen take the lead in the planning and then running the meet," Calkins said. "I hope the JROTC cadets are able to get a glimpse into Purdue NROTC and see the good quality of midshipmen we have here and hopefully they leave with a good outlook on what NROTC looks like in a college environment."

JROTC is a citizenship development program that instills in high school students the value of citizenship and service to the United States.

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The Purdue University NROTC midshipmen that participated Black and Gold Drill Meet are among more than 4,000 students enrolled in the NROTC program at colleges and universities throughout the country.

The NROTC program was established to develop midshipmen mentally, morally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, and loyalty. The program also develops midshipmen with the Navy's core values of honor, courage and commitment in order to commission college graduates as naval officers who possess a basic professional background, are motivated toward careers in the naval service, and have a potential for future development in mind and character so as to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.

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NROTC and NJROTC are supported by Rear Adm. Mike Bernacchi, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), and his NSTC staff at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois, and Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. NSTC supports 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy, as well as the Navy's Citizenship Development program. This includes the NROTC units at more than 160 colleges and universities; Officer Training Command (OTC) on Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island; Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy's only boot camp, at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois; and Navy JROTC/Navy National Defense Cadet Corps units at more than 600 high schools worldwide.

For more information about NSTC, visit or visit the NSTC Facebook page at

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