MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (Aug. 11, 2011) --
The West Carteret High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program took advantage of an opportunity to visit Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point to see how Marines work Aug. 2.
The cadets visited the 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion and learned about radios, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and machine guns that the battalion uses on the battlefield.
“We usually visit a military base once or twice a year for orientation,” said Chief Carl Brisco, the NJROTC program supervisor. “We talk about military type duties and jobs and then go to a base and get hands-on experience of what a service member’s day is like. This time, they got to see the professional manner of today’s Marine and the technology we use today. They got out of the classroom to see a lot of the material they usually only see in textbooks.”
Part of the subject matter during the tour was the missions of 2nd LAAD. The battalion is tasked with protecting airfields in austere environments. In conventional warfare between the United States and another nation, this usually means preventing enemy airstrikes against American installations using surface-to-air missiles. When involved in insurgent warfare where the enemy has no air forces the battalion acts as provisional infantry to prevent attacks on the installations.
Knowing that future Marine officers may come out of programs like NJROTC, 2nd LAAD worked to make a good impression on them.
“We wanted to help them appreciate the hard work and duties the Marines perform on a daily basis here,” said Gunnery Sgt. David C. Boudreau, the maintenance chief for 2nd LAAD’s motor transport shop. “They gained knowledge of what it is to be a Marine besides what they see on TV and. They saw Marines working in the motor transport bay, working on the radios and getting behind the guns mounted on the trucks. They gained experience of what it is to be a Marine by watching it all in the sun for an hour.”
The idea of the trip was not just to learn what 2nd LAAD does, but show the cadets what options they have and make a more informative decision if they choose to serve.
“A lot of these kids are thinking of going into the military, but a lot of kids don’t get to see what they’ll be doing when they join,” said retired Col. Vincent C. Giani, head of the NJROTC program at West Carteret. “These kids have the opportunity to work the weapon systems and information systems they may want to work with. Very few kids have the opportunity to do so. They can figure out what they want to do for a living or what they don’t want to do.”