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ROTC Cadets Experience Charleston

Cadets take a guided tour of the prestigious Citadel military college.

Forty-six cadets from the Piedmont and Porter Ridge High School Air Force Junior ROTC program boarded an activity bus recently for three days of touring in Charleston, S.C.

The field trip started with much enthusiasm. Some were tired, most were excited, and the rest were just looking forward to going somewhere new. Arriving at the U.S. Army National Guard Armory at approximately 11 a.m., cadets ran in their bags and then quickly got back on the bus to continue the day. With everyone dressed in their unit tee-shirts, a two and a half mile self-guided walking tour of historic Charleston was underway: Battery Park, Rainbow Row, and other historic sites were all included. Students were tasked with assignments prior to the trip and at every stop there was a student briefing of the historic site. There was a stop for pizza and a street music group, to which Chief Holmes displayed his dancing abilities, and then it was off to a Comedy Mystery Theatre for an entertaining production that left everyone with happy memories and laughs. After the theatre, it was back to the Armory with 46 sweaty and tired cadets. Cots were set up, showers were taken, and it was lights out for everyone.

Lights – Lights – Lights, and a siren alarm was the wakeup call for the cadets early Friday morning. Everyone was awake and ready to kick start their day -- getting dressed, brushing teeth, and eating breakfast. The unit headed towards Charleston Air Force Base for a tour: hospital, fire departments, golf course, shopping center, base operations, bowling alley, and flight line; the base was sprawling with everything you could imagine. C-17’s and C-130’s were a common sight on the flight line. Cadet Lindsey Pressley was especially intrigued having just recently passed her FAA flight check receiving her private pilot's license. The cadets enjoyed an excellent lunch at the base dining facility which Captain and Chief kept calling “the chow hall”.

The next stop was the prestigious military school of South Carolina: The Citadel. Three Citadel cadets gave the Junior ROTC cadets a campus tour filled with information about the college's history and traditions. Cadet Kelbey Oakes was particularly interested and related that he may be applying for the Citadel this year. Following the tour, the unit attended the Citadel’s Friday evening Awards Parade. Precision marching, cannon’s being fired, and a bagpipe band; it was awesome. The students headed back to Charleston AFB for a night of bowling at the Starlifter Lanes bowling alley. All cadets had a fun night bowling, relaxing, and having fun in each other’s company. It was back to armory late at night for showers and catching some shuteye before the start of the last day.

It was an early morning on Saturday clocking in at around 6:30 a.m. Cereal and bananas were eaten quickly, sleeping bags were rolled, cots were put away, and personal items were packed and loaded on the bus. With everyone back on the bus they said goodbye to the armory and hello to Fort Moultrie, the first stop of the day. With history dating back to 1776 the fort was a rich source of historical information to the cadets. Battles against the British, protection of the Charleston Harbor, attacks against Fort Sumter during the Civil War, and a military prison were some of the highlights briefed by students. After a reverent stop at the Seminole warrior leader Chief Osceola’s gravesite, it was onto the ferry for a tour of the famous Fort Sumter; the instructors, chaperones, and cadets were all impressed. The history alone that comes with Fort Sumter is nothing short of incredible. The last stop was the huge aircraft carrier, the USS Yorktown. You could never get bored exploring the hangars, flight decks, and numerous passageways and stairways of the 870 foot aircraft carrier. Numerous museum aircraft and a Medal of Honor Museum were also aboard the Yorktown for visitors. The students also toured the USS Clamagore submarine, and the USS Laffey destroyer. Sadly these amazing sights were the last stop for cadets.

Written by: Cadet Staff Sergeant Kaitlyn O’Boyle, Public Affairs NCO, Porter Ridge High School
Posted: Oct 17, 2013 by Donna Helms

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