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Physical training fits bill for NJROTC

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Physical training fits bill for NJROTC

Jennifer Avalos may have been a bit slower than her opponent during the obstacle course but she participated in every part of it and never gave up. Avalos put the sea bag on and finished the course...

VIRGINIA STILL/209 Health & Wellness


POSTED May 29, 2013 5:58 p.m.

Master Chief Michael Foster has been teaching Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) at Riverbank High School for 13 years. And the Master Chief spent 25 years in the Navy.

Harry Rushing is the Senior Naval Science Instructor and is a retired Chief Warrant Officer Four, also now working with students at Riverbank. The way the program is set up, the NJROTC program must have an officer and an enlisted Naval Science Instructor. Both Rushing and Foster teach the students in academics and physical training (PT).

The program is chartered by Congress to help make the students better citizens. The Navy gives them the curriculum and also updates the curriculum as needed.

The students, who participate in NJROTC above and beyond their normal school coursework, are outside two times a week doing PT. One day the students may be playing flag football, or volleyball, on another day they may be doing a series of different exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks with bricks. There are days that the students will do relays or use sledge hammers on tires. Recently, the master chief pulled out the sea bags and truck and tractor tires and placed one cone in the end zone and one at the 50-yard line of the football field where they were set up for the training.

“I try to change it up,” said Foster. “I don’t like doing the same thing. Don’t want them to get bored. I always try to add something different every year.”

The students will also be given a physical fitness test in the fall and one in the spring. They will be put through a series of physical fitness tests according to their age and will have to run a mile in a certain amount of time. If the students pass the test they will earn a ribbon for their PT shirt.

“With the various things I have them doing, it gets them in shape,” said Foster.

The Marine Corps has a new Combat Fitness Test (CFT) intended to keep Marines physically fit for contemporary combat situations. Master Chief Foster has incorporated some of the exercises and ideas from the CFT like an obstacle course into the NJROTC PT days.

The obstacle course is set up on the football field and starts out with a quick sprint to an orange cone. Once they get to the cone, they drop down into a belly crawl, which then turns into a hand-to-knee crawl. Then the students weave in and out of a section and pick up sea bags that weigh about 30 pounds and have to carry them back to the starting line. Once they are there they drop the sea bags and pick up filled ammo cans. They run with the ammo cans back down the field and get to a section where they have to pick up a brick (which symbolizes a grenade) and toss it into a specific location. After that they drop down and do push-ups. Finally they zig zag back through the course with the ammo cans and run back to the finish line. Each student is timed.

“They all try to the best of their abilities and that’s all I expect,” said Foster.

The results vary for each student but Foster expressed that the students seem to enjoy PT and give really good efforts. He has had students that are not in his class ask if they can participate in the activities that the NJROTC has set up, just to put more focus on their own physical fitness.

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