Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Navy Jr. ROTC Cadets Tour South Texas Military Sites

SBISD Navy Jr. ROTC cadets gather on the flight deck of the decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Lexington.
Sixteen cadets enrolled in the Spring Branch Navy Jr. ROTC program at the Guthrie Center toured U.S. Navy and Coast Guard facilities and Texas A&M University-Kingsville during a summertime, three-day trip to South Texas sites and facilities.

The cadets, who attend three district high schools, toured the USS Lexington Museum in Corpus Christi during the first day of their July 12-14 trip. The USS Lexington is a decommissioned aircraft carrier with a proud history. The vintage carrier known as “The Blue Ghost” saw combat in World War II, the Korean Conflict and Vietnam War. The ship was a landing platform for training Navy and Marine Corps pilots through the early 1990s.

Guthrie-Spring Branch Center Navy Jr. ROTC cadets pose on the campus of Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
In Corpus Christi, the cadets also toured the Naval Air Station where they learned about career options. They were escorted to the flight line and toured the flight control tower, watching Navy air controllers work with student pilots to conduct take-off and landing exercises. Inside the radar control room, they  observed controllers monitoring and coordinating all aircraft flights in South Texas. They learned about Navy careers and air traffic controller opportunities. 

While on the air station campus, the Spring Branch students visited the U.S. Coast Guard Air Operations Facility.  The cadets were briefed on Coast Guard officer and enlisted career opportunities ranging from pilot to air crew personnel to mechanics and rescue swimmers. The cadets were even allowed to climb aboard helicopters and fixed wing aircraft operated by the Coast Guard for both search and rescue and coastal patrol operations.

Guthrie-Spring Branch Center Navy Jr. ROTC cadets gather on the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi flight line.
At Texas A&M University-Kingsville, the cadets were led on a walking tour of the campus by a graduating senior student volunteer. They also received a briefing from a Houston-area campus recruiter. The South Texas branch university is marketed as one of the most affordable state universities. The university tour included information about Army ROTC options, including a 4-year campus scholarship opportunity.

The summertime trip included highlights familiar to vacationers, too, like a trip aboard the Port Aransas-Aransas Pass ferry.

SBISD Navy Jr. ROTC cadets pose on the bridge of the aircraft carrier USS Lexington.
Spring Branch-Guthrie Navy Jr. ROTC is led by U.S. Navy (Retired) Commander Jerry Coufal, senior naval science instructor for the program, and U.S. Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Mark Heuser, naval science instructor.

Students who took part in the South Texas trip:

From Northbrook High School: Omar Bahena, Sigfredo Hernandez-Portillo, Jaqueline Ramos and Jonathan Rodriguez, 11th grade; Aaron Dirso and Pedro Quiroz, both 12th grade

From Spring Woods High School: Sara Crellen and Dennis Lopez, 10th grade; Rosa Alvarez, Stephanie Benavides, Azucena Gonzalez and Lauren Rodela, 11th grade; Elijah Rodela and Devin Williams, 12th grade

From Westchester Academy for International Studies (WAIS): Christy Nguyen, 10th grade, and Christopher Barron, 11th grade


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