The Dreher High School Navy JROTC cadets recently visited Parris Island Marine Recruit Depot in Beaufort, S.C. The three-day visit offered an opportunity for the cadets to experience a few of the Marine recruits’ activities. This event is so popular with the JROTC cadets some have gone two or even three times during their time in the program.
There are different experiences and tasks for everyone. For example, night watch, or fire watch, is a regular task for the JROTC cadets. This is nightly when two or more cadets take shifts to watch over the other cadets who are sleeping to ensure the safety of everyone in the barracks or to give a quick alarm in case of a fire or other major disturbance. The task instills and reinforces responsibility, duty, and service.
Another activity offered was the tear gas chamber, which was made for marines in case they must operate in unsafe conditions. No active tear gas is released for the visiting cadets and the chamber has been free for a week. Still, the minor, residual ingredient left in the chamber is enough to cause some irritation to the eyes and nose giving cadets an idea of what one might experience.
The cadets were also introduced to the Marine Corps martial arts program, or MCMAP, a mix of all different styles of fighting. A recruit would typically spend 10 hours a day for two weeks learning everything to perfection. Visiting cadets went over the basic fighting stance, had an opportunity to practice it, and how to move around while maintaining the proper stance. The drill instructor then spoke to the group about the corps, the levels of proficiency, and answered various questions from the cadets.
Cadets were then introduced to the Marine’s Confidence Course, specifically, the inverted wall and the rope swing. The inverted wall is about five feet high and built with a 45-degree incline that faces away from the person attempting to navigate the obstacle. Cadets had to run and jump to get over the wall and then slide down the other side. The other obstacle the cadets navigated was the rope swing, which consisted of a three-inch diameter rope suspended over a shallow ditch about six feet wide. Cadets had to run up a hill and jump on the rope, then swing to the other side without touching any part of the ditch.
The tour also included a trip to the training pool. As a seaborne force, it is imperative that Marines know how to swim, and they train to do so wearing combat gear. The drill instructors described and demonstrated the different flotation devices available on-board ships or aircrafts, along with how personal items, such as trousers, could be used. The instructor then went over the different swimming techniques like the sidestroke and breaststroke.