Barnegat High School ROTC Getting Off on the Right Foot

Dec 13, 2017
Courtesy of: Master Chief Michael Dunkin

Since being instituted nearly two months ago, the newly formed Barnegat High School Jr. ROTC unit has been busy participating in various local events.

The instructor is Master Chief Michael D. Dunkin, who served 24 years in the U.S. Navy before retiring in 2007. For the past nine years, Dunkin had headed up the ROTC program at Colts Neck High School. Previously, Barnegat students interested in ROTC had to enroll at a program at Southern Regional High School.

Dunkin said Barnegat’s program will be developed through the Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.

“It is a citizenship development program,” said the Navy veteran. “The mission of Naval JROTC is to instill in students the values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment.”

Dunkin said course objectives include to promote patriotism, develop informed and responsible citizens, promote habits of orderliness and precision, develop a high degree of personal honor and self-reliance, promote an understanding of the basic elements and need for national security, develop respect for and an understanding of the need for authority in a democratic society, promote community service, develop incentives to live healthy and drug-free, develop leadership potential, provide an alternative to gangs, promote high school completion and provide information on the military services as a possible career.

He said the unit conducted color guard presentations at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Barnegat High School snack stand and the homecoming football game and pep rally, along with the annual Thanksgiving Day game.

For Veterans Day they attended and presented the colors at Brackman Middle School and celebrated Veterans Day with local veterans from the area. That evening, they, along with American Legion Post 232, presented colors at a Veterans Day tribute at the Albert Music Hall in Waretown for local veterans and community members.

The unit also participated with the post for the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day held at the Barnegat public dock.

Dunkin said that recently, a group of cadets went to a Manchester High School drill competition.

“The cadets did not compete in the competition but got to see it firsthand and talk to cadets from 12 other competing schools,” he said. “They got to watch the schools compete in regulation drill, color guard, exhibition drill and physical fitness challenge. It was good for them to see firsthand other Navy units from the state to see the work that we need to do in the future and set some goals for our unit. It was a great day for the cadets as they met cadets/students from around the state.”

In addition, the unit has been holding fundraising events, and raised approximately $800.

“We are currently planning more fundraising events in the future as this will be a key to our success,” said Dunkin. “We will need money for different events such as end-of-year awards ceremony, military ball banquet, fitness uniforms for competitions, entrance fees for the different competitions we plan on in the future, such as academic competitions, physical fitness competitions and drill competitions. Each time we enter a competition, we will have an entrance fee. This does not take into account the upkeep of the uniforms and equipment such as color guard and drill rifles.”

Dunkin said the aim is to have the unit outfitted and wearing uniforms by the end of December.

“We want to make sure that everyone is trained and understands the importance of the uniform they are wearing as it reflects greatly upon the United States Navy,” he said.“ It is not something we take lightly.”

Anyone who is interested in sponsoring and/or donating to the Barnegat Navy JROTC program should contact Dunkin at mdunkin@barnegatschools.com.

— Eric Englund

ericenglund@thesandpaper.net

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