Nease NJROTC’s top cadets graduate Leadership Academy


Nease NJROTC, the top-ranked unit in NJROTC Area 12 for five of the past six years, recently restocked its cadet leadership ranks, sending nine cadets to the Area 12 NJROTC Leadership Academy in Gainesville, Georgia, from June 11-17.

The training brought together 240 cadets from 60 high schools in Area 12, which includes Northern Florida and the state of Georgia. The top Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard JROTC naval science instructors from the region directed the training, which covered leadership, precision drill, academics and physical fitness.

This year’s attendees included rising seniors Medina Blekic, Robin Mendenhall and Harmon Rambo; and rising juniors Troy Barber, Emily Blackford, Sierra Carlson, Peyton Gustafson, Hailey Moorefield and Erin Sass. Cadet Mac Davis served as cadre during the week, assisting in the mentoring and training of the cadets. Naval Science Instructors Captain Scott LaRochelle and Gunnery Sergeant Durwin Hanson worked as instructors.

“Without a doubt, some of the best training I’ve ever received,” said Cadet Erin Sass. “I can’t wait to put into practice what we learned once we start back up at Nease.”

Several cadets received individual commendations for exceptional performance during the training, including Cadets Gustafson and Moorefield as number three overall male and female athletes; Cadets Barber and Sass as the number two overall male and female athletes; and Cadets Blekic and Gustafson as Honor Platoon cadets, the top overall cadets in their respective platoons. Cadet Barber also served as platoon commander for the overall top-rated platoon during the week.

“Best week of my life,” said Cadet Troy Barber. “The week was nonstop go-go-go, and I can’t believe how much we learned in such a short time.”