Barnegat Man Heads Inaugural ROTC Program

Oct 04, 2017
Master Chief Michael D. Dunkin

For the first time since its opening in 2004, Barnegat High School will offer a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program. Previously, Barnegat students interested in ROTC had to take the course at Southern Regional High School.

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.

“But when Barnegat was starting up a program, I was very interested because Barnegat has been my home since 1992. I’m married to the former Dawn R. Mash, a graduate of Southern Regional High School. We have two daughters, Nicole Dunkin Patterson and Tonya Dunkin Marozzi, who both graduated from Southern Regional High School. We also have a son, Michael J. Dunkin, a 2012 graduate of Barnegat High School.”

Dunkin said that Barnegat’s program will be developed through the Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. His first day at the high school will be Tuesday, Oct. 24. 

“It is a citizenship development program,” said the 52-year-old 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 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.

Dunkin said the course is an elective and available to students in grades 9 through 12.

“The U.S. Navy provides a four-year curriculum complete with books and electronic presentations that NJROTC Instructors utilize for teaching their classes,” he said.

Dunkin said students will participate in physical training, military-style drills and also learn about U.S. naval history.

“There is no obligation to join any branch of the military when they graduate from high school,” he said. “The program presents itself as another career option for the students. If they don’t join the military, we hope at least that it will instill solid values as they enter adulthood.”

High school Principal Stephen Nichol said Dunkin “was the right man to get this program off the ground.”

“The Colts Neck ROTC program has received national recognition for academic and physical training excellence, and we’re confident,” he said. “We’re very fortunate to get a very outstanding instructor who should be a great influence on our students.”

— Eric Englund  

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