The Pioneer

The Pioneer

Operation Detonation

Mountaineer Squadron

Abby Rosu, Student Journalist

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WEST ORANGE, Nj — On Sat., March 17, the cadets of Mountaineer Squadron set their alarms much earlier. At 6:30 AM, cadets lined up outside of the Conforti lobby, marking the beginning of the corp’s annual boot-camp; this year coined “Operation Detonation.”

The boot-camp is a ritual for cadets in the program. For weeks, the corps’ senior leadership worked to arrange a time schedule for several activities to take place, centering around skills that cadets should possess. This year, the day was comprised of six stations: Orienteering, Academics, Medical, Physical Training, Drill, and Combat. In the span of 45 minutes, each station was led by senior leadership who gave lengthy, hands-on lessons in these fields. Each station required cadets to work together and apply their prior knowledge to the activities such as Academics which led a lesson on bombs and their detonation. The activity that followed Academics required cadets to match terms from the lesson in a timed environment. Since drill is a significant component of JROTC, this station focused on the standard 30-step drill sequence that cadets are required to perform at different intervals throughout the year. Performance with guidons and rifles was evaluated as well.

Upon completing the day stations, cadets were fed MREs- meal ready to eat packages that are customarily fed to those in basic training. Incorporating this into the boot-camp made the experience more realistic, and gave the cadets a “taste” of what basic training is like. To further intensify the boot-camp setting, ROTC cadets from Rutgers, Seton Hall, Syracuse, and West Point shadowed cadets to reinforce urgency and a military setting.

After lunch, cadets rejoiced to complete the final mission of boot-camp. This timed exercise took cadets all over the school, as parts of the mission were organized like a scavenger hunt. The final mission stations served as a last evaluation of what cadets had accomplished and learned throughout the day.

The concluding graduation ceremony served as a relaxing end to the strenuous ten-hour day that cadets endured. Cadet Pereira, a freshman in Mountaineer Squadron, sang the National Anthem while the Honor Guard posted the colors. Family and friends were invited to watch as cadets recited their flight cheers, received their coins, and were congratulated on surviving Operation Detonation.

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Operation Detonation