program director and a Navy League
Director Emeritus; Past Pensacola
Council Presidents Dean Fournier
and Robert Anderson; and Council
Member Ben Pendleton, according
“Pensacola Navy League is
pleased to be part of the awards
ceremony each year, as well as
community and business leaders
that are part of the great support
the military community receives
here in Pensacola,” Pruter said
in an e-mail to Seapower. “Navy
League is an integral part of the
NJROTC program from the local
level to this annual competition.
“The annual NJROTC competition was a well-planned and
executed event. NJROTC units and cadets work their way
to this national event through a rigorous and challenging series of local and region workups and tests. Judges
for the nationals are active-duty USN Instructors and
USMC Drill Instructors. Very tough judges. In all phases
for final competition, the margin was frequently less
than a point or one pull-up,” he added.
Last year’s runner-up, the Green Run High School
unit from Virginia Beach, Va., was crowned the
2017 NJROTC National Academic, Athletic and Drill
Champion, according to the NNS. The unit racked up
5,207 points to capture the title, besting Boca Raton
High School (Boca Raton, Fla.), with 5,166 points.
Centennial High School (Las Vegas), finished third with
5,010 points. Troy High School (Fullerton, Calif.), was
fourth with 5,004 points. Pace High School (Milton,
Fla.), rounded out the top five.
Commander, Naval Education and Training
Command, Rear Adm. Michael S. White presented participation certificates to all 24 schools and the overall
trophies to the top five units at the awards ceremony.
“It’s always great to see the energy and excitement
the NJROTC Nationals bring,” said White, who also
observed the drill events and visited with units during
the competition, according to the NNS. “You are exem-
plary students and leaders among your communities.
It’s impressive to watch you compete and knowing that
you are the next generation of leaders makes me proud
to stand with you here tonight.”
In New York City, the focus shifted from competition
to education to inspire the next generation of leaders
White spoke of. On April 25, the George Washington
High School NJROTC unit in upper Manhattan, which is
supported by the New York Council, hosted past Council
President J. Robert Lunney, a retired rear admiral
whose 43-year military career began as a 17-year-old
high school student and included service in World War
II and the Korean War.
Lunney was invited by the unit to detail his per-
sonal experiences serving with the Naval Amphibious
Forces-Pacific as World War II was ending, said retired
Cmdr. Edward G. Gunning Jr., senior naval science
instructor. Lunney spoke of his experiences to the
cadets by adeptly relating his remarks to similar expe-
riences these cadets share today, Gunning said.
His presentation was the culmination of several
months of a military history curriculum the unit had
covered on World War II in the Pacific. The empha-
sis of the unit’s study was the brutal nature of the
island-hopping campaign and the high casualties, both
military and civilian, that led to the decision to employ
nuclear weapons to bring the war to a close.
Lunney tied the program together with his experience
in participating in the surrender of prisoners-of-war
(POWs) on several Japanese-held islands. Lunney’s later
meeting with one of these POWs in Japan during his ser-
vice during the Korean War was a mirror of the evolving
nature of the country’s relationship with Japan as an
important ally today, Gunning said.
The George Washington NJROTC unit, with 150
cadets, benefits greatly from its extensive relation-
ship with the New York Council, Gunning said. Council
members attend inspections and award ceremonies,
and in this case provided priceless insight into the
experiences of a young Sailor in the Pacific during
World War ll. n
NJROTC cadets from George Washington High School watch as retired Rear Adm. J. Robert
Lunney speaks about a Japanese soldier who surrendered to him in the Western Pacific during
World War II and later reunited with him in Japan during Lunney’s Korean War service.