by Aurora Robinson
FC cadets in the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps line up in platoons. Dressed in their uniforms, they march and practice each day for the Annual Military Inspection (AMI) on Feb. 7.
The AMI is a big event for the NJROTC program.
“It’s our Annual Military Inspection and it’s when the Navy comes in and makes sure we are doing everything correctly in accordance with navy regulations. So they are coming in, they’re inspecting the money for the program, they’re inspecting uniform for the program, and they’re inspecting the students to make sure they’re being trained correctly,” said Senior Naval Science Instructor Michael Epperson.
There is a lot that the inspection affects when it comes to FC’s NJROTC program. A big part of it is the funding that is given by the Navy.
“It’s important to our NJROTC for many reasons,” said NJROTC Executive Officer senior Katie Hertog. “If you don’t have an Annual Military Inspection you can’t get the funding from the Navy that you need. We wouldn’t be able to have the basement as a whole, we wouldn’t have this classroom, and we wouldn’t have uniforms. We wouldn’t be able to get any new stuff because we didn’t get the inspection. It is also important as a company just to see how well you are working together. It’s not always about the money that’s involved, it’s also about the company as a whole and as a family.”
The military inspection coming up has been held annually since the NJROTC program at FC was created.
“Every year, all programs are required to be inspected annually. In FC’s case, the NJROTC program at FC started in 1994 so an inspection has occurred annually since 1994,” said Commander Joe Hankins, retired U.S. Navy, NJROTC Area Three Manager.
There are two parts of the AMI that will occur today.
“There is going to be a day portion and an evening portion. The day portion will be him [Commander Hankins] looking at all of the cadets in front of him. It takes a long time but he does it. The evening portion is when the marching is going to be and he will be there and parents will be there,” said Naval Science Instructor Michael Beal.
The evening ceremony is at 6 p.m. at FC in the Main Gym, where parents and students are invited to come out and watch.
There are specific things that Hankins looks for while he inspects the platoons in each NJROTC program throughout Area 3, the area in which he is in charge. He has a checklist that he follows as he goes through the inspection.
“During the inspection I use a comprehensive checklist,” said Hankins. “This checklist is comprised of multiple sections with each section graded on multiple items. I look for good communication between all concerned. This includes the communication between the school and the program instructors and cadets. I also look for the support given to the program by the school, by the community, by the parents and by the student body.”
Each day the different teams from the NJROTC program prepare themselves for this very day, not just meets and competitions.
“The drill team practices every day, that’s mostly for drill meets, but it’s also for AMI. All the platoons, they practice too during their period. It’s just like drill, they make sure every platoon knows where they’re going. It basically builds their confidence, so they don’t mess up during the actual performance,” said sophomore Ariana Watkins.
Last year during the Annual Military Inspection, NJROTC was awarded Distinguished Unit award. Members of the NJROTC program have already set a goal for themselves this year for the inspection.
“We’re hoping to maintain Distinguished Unit,” said NJROTC cadet commanding officer senior Nick Fulkerson. “We got that last year for the first time in the 23 years of the program. So we look to maintain that. Our rifle team is number one in the Navy. So they’re going down to Navy Nationals in February. The drill team is doing really well, we’re hoping to go down to Navy Nationals for that for the first time as well. So we’re on the right track. A lot of great upper leadership this year. That’s kind of trickling down to the lower class, it should be a great program for the next few years.”