The JROTC program at Cranston East is only one of three programs in the state and it is an indispensable leadership program and opportunity.
On Saturday, March 11, the cadets of the 28th Battalion held their annual ball or ‘dining out’ at Cranston Country Club.
The administration, faculty and staff at Cranston East regard the program very highly.
“It is a tremendous program, from the Army Leadership to the student leadership to every member of the corps. They are leaders in the school and leaders in the community. I could not be prouder of this group of students,” said East Principal Sean Kelly.
The program was run on a tight timetable and everything ran with military precision.
Cadets and guests went through a receiving line of fellow cadets, Lieutenant Colonel John Murray and his wife, Heidi, retired Navy officer and East teacher Thomas Cowell and retired Sergeant Major Gerald Thifault.
Master of Ceremonies Steven Tiernan welcomed everyone and went into the theme of the evening, of what it means to be American and what skills does it take. He talked about loyalty, selfless services, personal courage and respect.
He read a list of all the accomplishments the battalion had this year. “From drill team to our community service projects we have made an impact,” he said.
Following his remarks, the cadets performed the Posting of Colors, the invocation and recited the Cadet’s Creed.
The next part of the ceremony was the official toasts offered by the cadets. Toasts were made to the President, to the Army, to the 100 years of the JROTC, to Cranston, to the Faculty, to their families, to the gentlemen and lastly to the ladies.
One of the favorite parts of the evening is the punch bow ceremony. Where cadets pour ingredients into a bowl to create a drink called ‘grog’. It is composed of all the different components of the cadets’ lives.
After giving a brief history of grog and how important it is to soldiers the cadets created their own special brew.
“From Viet Nam to Afghanistan, from Cuba to Kwajalein we build brotherly bonds through shared beverages,” said Tiernan.
The last ingredient was added by Colonel Murray and it was a drop of his Merry Mo-Jo juice.
Battalion Commander, Senior Cadet Jessica Taing took the first taste, raised her glass and declared, “It is a great day to be an American.”
She then invited all the cadets up to the bowl for a cup.
Following dinner, the traditional cake-cutting ceremony took place using a time-honored practice of using a special saber to cut the cake.
There were five special slices cut and presented to faculty and parents from the cadets.
The last formal part of the evening was the presentation of SAI (Senior Army Instructor). Colonel Murray congratulated the members of the girls drill team and presented them with silver medals.
The unarmed color guard champions received gold medals.
He concluded his remarks by recognizing the senior class for their hard work. “I know this event took lots of time, energy and effort,” he said.
Murray also thanked the faculty for their continuing support as well as the parents in the audience.
In the nine years Murray has been in charge of the program, this was the first-time cadets brought parents.
“I have seen firsthand how awesome the JROTC program is, the level of commitment the instructors and cadets give is something that Cranston East should be proud of. I will always be very proud to be a JROTC mom. It has done both of my boys a world of good,” said Michelle Mickelson, whose sons, Eric Mickelson, now age 20 (Class of 2015) and Aaron Mickelson, age 16, sophomore, are cadets.
The senior cadets of the 28th Battalion of Cranston East JROTC are: Jessica Taing, Adrienne Gardner, Paolo Henry-Mejia, Karl Oung, Chris Garcia, Isabel Romero, Patricia Flor, Aileen Rodriguez, Jeremiah Cosme, Laura Genereux, Joseph Healey, Andres Jimenez, Erik Mena, Tyer Pang, Wilson Ramirez, Kyra Salisbury, Scarlet Santucci, Steven Tiernan and Thomas Whelan.