JROTC Truly a Learning Experience, Washington Trip Reviewed

March 18, 2016


by Len Lathrop

The cadets talked about their trip to Washington, D.C., and the management needed to make it happen.  Forty-three of the Jr. ROTC Corp at Alvirne High School traveled to our nation’s capital over the vacation.

Several of the cadets offered their insights into the trip they made over February Vacation Week:  Cadet Colonel Tia Giaumont, Group Commander, Cadet Lt. Mike Gagnon, Deputy Group Commander, Cadet Lt. Colonel Gillian McMally, Group Commander Logistics/Squadron Commander, Cadet 1st Lt. David Trenholm, and Cadet Captain Cameron Robinson.  The itinerary was impressive knowing that these student/cadets planned, organized and fundraised to make this trip possible.  SMSgt. Michael Dubeau (Ret.), Aerospace Science Instructor at Alvirne made it a point to say that the students did everything to make this trip happen except where authorized signatures were needed.  Even after going to Washington and meeting with our two state senators and our congresswoman these five ROTC students seemed nervous talking to the paper.  Explaining that we wanted to talk about the trip, find out what they learned, and what their impressions of our government were before and after their visit helped put them at ease.

A quick look at their itinerary showed that Sunday was mostly travel time but with some free time after getting into the hotel and a pool party, I’m sorry, a pizza party by the pool that was sponsored by the Air Force Monday it took them to the Aerospace Center .  The Museum called ? had assorted military paraphernalia.  Then they visited Arlington Cemetery.  On Tuesday the highlights were the Pentagon pictures, a meeting with Sen. Kelly Ayotte and some other touring.  On Wednesday at the Library of Congress Union Station. The cadets met with our congressional delegation and saw the Smithsonian complex.  On Thursday they returned home.  Full credit should be given to the cadet colonels and other officers in charge of planning this trip, making all the arrangements and coordinating the fundraising to provide the $15,000 that it took for these 43 cadets to be in Washington.

When asked what they learned, it seemed they were in agreement that they didn’t know how big, how complex and how fast moving the government in Washington was.  Actually, it was a very hard place to stay on schedule.  They learned from the senators and the congresswoman that many things in Washington have to be very flexible.  these government leaders could be called to vote at any time.  In a very dynamic situations they pointed out that they got a big picture of government from speaking with our leadership delegation.

Many of the people who found out that the cadets were from New Hampshire spoke about us being the First In The Nation primary and how much impact we have on the other states and what an opportunity it is for Granite State residents to meet and actually talk to so many of the candidates before the election.  I think the terminology expressed was, “it’s real cool how we get to meet face-to-face where it doesn’t happen in other states.”  We talked about the future, asking whether the Internet and the massive electronic media that these young people are growing up with will change the way that we nominate and elect presidents in the future.  These cadets were remarkably knowledgeable about the two-party system, about superdelegates, about how the popular vote doesn’t always elect the president and that in their lifetime it might be a thought that the Electoral College could be obsolete and a new system needed.  During the meeting with Congresswoman Kuster they got to speak about what was going on in the Senate as she was late for their meeting.  She explained about the bill being voted on was defining whether people suing big corporations should be in the state or federal court system.

Talking about where the students are headed after graduation, one is interested in the United States Military Academy; another in an ROTC program; the third in another ROTC program to continue training and then service in the U.S. military.  The fourth cadet, Captain Cameron Robinson, has already listed in the Army and is planning to be a medic studying physical therapy so that he can work with fellow wounded soldiers as they return to civilian life.  He quickly said this was his goal, but until he was there he really wouldn’t know as he will be leaving for basic training shortly after graduation.  Colonel Lt. Gaumont wants to be a pilot and is hoping to go to the U.S. Military Academy.  One of the other cadets said that she had her pilot’s license.  Mike Gagnon is planning to study physiokinetics so that he can study the effects of space travel on his fellow military personnel and maybe even travel to space himself.  Gillian McNally wants to go into intelligence after school.

Based on these cadets and the impact they hope to make on the world, the future looks much brighter.