Navy training corps at Port Angeles High School holds promotions
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Retired Navy Capt. Jonathan Picker, left, senior naval science instructor at Port Angeles High School, congratulates Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets being promoted during a promotion ceremony held Thursday morning.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — On Thursday morning, 110 students and about a dozen parents and teachers gathered in the Port Angeles High School cafeteria for a first-ever Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps promotion ceremony for 67 students.

The new military-style ceremony was part of a series of changes by retired Navy Capt. Jonathan Picker, who took over the unit in September after Marine Corps Maj. Leo Campbell, who led the unit for 10 years, retired for medical reasons.

Picker said Campbell did a good job with Roughrider Company and that any changes will be minor.

“I'm trying to do subtle things, to try to do here in this program what the fleet is doing today,” Picker said after the ceremony.

Promotion ceremonies are significant events in the Navy culture and serve to recognize and reward hard work, he said.

On Thursday, a handful of cadets were promoted to the chief and officer ranks — those in leadership positions within the unit.

During the ceremony, Maverick Jennings, a senior, was promoted to cadet lieutenant commander — and will be installed as the unit commanding officer.

Cadet Senior Chief Petty Officer Alex Parrill will serve as the unit's senior enlisted adviser.

Leadership ranks grow

The cadet leadership ranks swelled with three new chief petty officers, a new senior chief petty officer and two new ensigns.

The largest number of promotions was among those who had earned the title of cadet seaman — mostly freshmen who are new to the unit this year.

Six received meritorious promotions in addition to the biannual promotions.

Picker wants to add a community service requirement for future promotions.

The unit is known in the community for thousands of hours of cadet community service.

“We want to set standards that are achievable in a given rank and grade,” Picker said.

Under the current requirements, cadets must maintain a minimum grade-point average and performance level within the unit, and are eligible for promotions at the end of each semester.

Requirements for promotion increase as the cadets progress through the four-year program.

The unit has a 98 percent graduation rate over a 10-year period for students who complete four years of NJROTC.

Cadets earn college credits for their naval science courses.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 06. 2014 6:01PM
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