Special to the Guide
The Green Run High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (GRHS NJROTC) has the distinction of being the nation’s top Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps.
This unit from Virginia Beach won First Place in the annual Drill, Academics, and Athletics competition. Out of the 583 NJROTC units across the country, the top 24 units converged in Pensacola, Florida on April 7-8, 2017 to compete for the most prestigious honor to be crowned the Best of the Best in the Nation.
In addition to winning the top overall honor that weekend, the 35-person team won eight other trophies, taking First Place nationally in Armed Exhibition Drill, Second Place in Armed Platoon Basic Drill, Third Place in Unarmed Exhibition Drill, and First Place in Drill Overall.
In addition, they came in Second Place in Sit-ups, Fourth Place in Push-ups, and Second Place in Athletics Overall.
Finally, they finished Fourth Place nationally in Academics. Several of Green Run’s students had top 10 finishes in the national competition to take home individual medals.
This was no small feat for a unit that was one of the smallest competing in the national competition and its district. While most units competing have over 200-400 members, GRHS’s unit has just over 100 cadets, barely over the minimum enrollment required by national ROTC regulations.
This means that practically all of the team members competed in more than one event for the competition; one student actually competed in an unprecedented 10 of the 11 events. The team relies on the generous contributions of parents, faculty, and community supporters to supplement funds received from ROTC to get to the national competition held in Florida each year.
Academically, the corps scored fifth in the National Academic Exam Competition this year out of over 1700 NJROTC academic teams throughout the country.
In the six years that Retired Navy Commander Curtis Brown, Sr. has been the Senior Naval Science Instructor (SNSI) at GRHS, he along with 1st Sergeant Felix Robles (Naval Science Instructor) and a handful of dedicated parents (and faculty) who believe in this small unit and the value of the program have helped these students to become First Place Area 5 Champions for the past five consecutive years. The Area 5 District consists of approximately 57 NJROTC units across Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.
Moreover, the Green Run unit placed first in the Area 5 Academic Brain Brawl which is akin to a jeopardy competition where cadets are challenged in their knowledge of ROTC curriculum; naval science knowledge, skills, and history; leadership, and current events. A few of the students returned to Jacksonville, Florida a month later to compete in its National Academic Brain Brawl Competition.
During that competition, the Green Run High School’s NJROTC 5-member team had a top-1 0 national finish, placing ninth in the nation.