On November 14, all Riverside Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets – even Major Roger Bailey and Sergeant Gerald Mitchell – were inspected.
Retired US Air Force major Rob Adkins inspected all 100-plus cadets during first period. Adkins supervises high school JROTC programs throughout the Southeastern US.
JROTC follows the same evaluation checklist as all other high school programs. There are four possible ratings: exceeds standards, meets standards, meets standards with discrepancy, and does not meet standards.
On a normal inspection day, Major Bailey and Gerald Mitchell usually inspect uniforms in small groups throughout the day during their ROTC classes. They check hair, making sure that boys keep it above the collar and girls and have a tight bun. Cadets must also keep their hats on the belt, shoes shined, and wear a white t-shirt with no logos, black socks, their name tag, ribbons straight and in the correct order and a tie tied correctly.
But this time Adkins inspected all students at the same time, which meant over 100 kids had to stand at attention, silent and completely still, for over 90 minutes.
After the inspection, Adkins spoke to the entire group. He shared stories from his own childhood and experience in the Air Force and encouraged Riverside cadets to take advantage of every opportunity.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from, where your family comes from, what you drive or how much money you’ve got,” Adkins said. “What matters is the talent you have. If you don’t know, figure it out or else someone will figure it out for you.”
After his talk, the sophomore cadets did their 30-step drill sequence, a . Adkins was very impressed.
“You guys just owned it,” he said. “I’ve seen kids march too fast, I’ve seen them run into the wall of the gym, morph into two different groups. But you guys, I’m telling you, were a near perfect performance.”
During second period Adkins evaluated Major Bailey’s and Sergeant Mitchell’s teaching. The two of them each took a turn leading the class through a PowerPoint presentation and they also get inspected like any other cadet would.
During third period C-flight gave Adkins the mission briefing. Led by group commander is Mariah Harrington, C-flight is a flight full of seniors who hold leadership positions, like chaplain, physical training officer, academics officer and director of operations. ,C-flight shared this year’s goals, future plans and how they will achieve them.
“I was so nervous, excited and anxious,” said senior Anthony Escoto, who serves as deputy group commander. “But I have a lot of confidence in this group, especially the mission briefing.”
Anthony Escoto and senior Ben Perez, who serves as the director of support, also received awards for their overall top performance.
“Ben and Anthony have gone above and beyond. They’ve been working their butts off,” Harrington said. “Anthony had to do whole inspections by himself, and Ben helped him. They’re also doing the mission briefing They made [today’s inspection] possible for us.”
During fourth period Major Bailey shared the inspection results with cadets. This year they met standards but did not exceed, which means they wont be back for another 3 years.
“I was upset about not meeting exceed standards at first, but I understood,” Escoto said, “He made valid points, but at first I thought he was chewing us out and going off on us but the more he went in details the better it made since and the more I understood.”