West Bladen cadets shine at JROTC Leadership Challenge


FORT JACKSON — Eight West Bladen High School JROTC cadets were among the 735 young leaders who participated in the rigorous Junior ROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge at Fort Jackson from June 11 to June 17.

JCLC is an annual event at which selected high-school cadets meet to participate and compete in a variety of hands-on training such as team development, high ropes, rappelling, water safety, virtual rifle safety and marksmanship, and land navigation.

West Bladen was represented by Kieara Porter, Kalil Richardson, Andrew Davis, Taniyah Robinson, Hunter Cimbolo, Turea Lucy, Justin Monroe and Cynthea Landreth.

The temperatures at Fort Jackson soared into the upper 90s as the cadets experienced a week of dynamic events conducted at facilities normally used by U.S. Army basic trainees. Some of the favorite activities were the meals consumed in the Fort’s dining facilities, wearing Army combat uniforms, rappelling, and the fun, practical training at the swimming pool.

While Col. Eli Ballard was assigned as a safety officer at the Training Development and Water Safety training, First Sgt. John Gillespie performed duties as a training and counseling officer, and worked full-time with the West Bladen cadets’ assigned company. Both West Bladen instructors commented on how rewarding it is to see their cadets demonstrate their skills and strong values while working with their peers from over 100 schools.

“All eight West Bladen Cadets performed with excellence and identified themselves as strong candidates for leadership positions in the JROTC battalion during the 2016-2017 school year,” Ballard said.

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