West Bladen JROTC cadets practice leadership at Fort Jackson

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — Despite the demanding schedule and temperatures consistently in the upper 90s at Fort Jackson S.C., eight West Bladen High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets proved that they had the right stuff to excel in the JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge.

Cadets Jarred Gathings, Cynthea Landreth, Melani Martinez-Flores, Brandon Moore, Jennifer O’Neal, Tate Sykes, Marcos Vasquez and Mellany Zunun were selected to attend the leadership challenge based on their excellence in physical fitness, academic proficiency, citizenship, leadership ability, and overall motivation.

Fort Jackson is the primary basic training post for the U.S. Army. While participating in JCLC, the cadets lived in the same billets, wore the Army combat uniform, consumed the same type of meals and trained on many of the same apparatuses as the nation’s fighting men and women.

Each one of the West Bladen cadets excelled in physical training, teambuilding development, water safety and drownproofing, high ropes adventure training, confidence course, and several other challenging training events.

The six-day leadership camp culminated with a day of fun and competition at Weston Lake, a U.S. Army Recreation Center near Fort Jackson.

West Bladen’s cadets earned several awards while competing in events to include human pyramid building, tug-o-war, water balloon toss, and the three-legged race. They later enjoyed recreational swimming and a picnic lunch.]

According to the West Bladen JROTC instructors, Col. Eli Ballard and SGM Ron McCauley, the week of interaction with more than 650 of the top JROTC cadets from high schools throughout the Carolinas has prepared the cadets for excellence in their leadership positions during the upcoming school year.