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Thunderbolts Strike at Camp Eagle 2012, Parris Island, South Carolina

by Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Adreona Simpson, Regiment Public Affairs Officer


June 30--  The Army invaded the legendary United States Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina for a short period during the week of 18-22 June 2012.

Cadet Command’s 6th Brigade, Region 9 conducted their annual junior cadet leadership camp (JCLC) during at Parris Island. “Welcome to Camp Eagle 2012” Colonel Ken Koetz, Camp Eagle Commandant said to cadets assembled in formation, during the camp’s opening ceremonies on Monday evening. “Each of you will find challenges here. Some of you came here to improve your leadership skills. Others came for the physical rigors of this camp. I know that some of you came here to discover a bit more about yourselves. You will achieve that purpose,” COL Koetz told the 200-plus cadets when he declared Camp Eagle open.

The cadets underwent a rigorous regimen of mental and physical challenges over the next five days. Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Jennifer Shim stated to her fellow Thunderbolts on the. Miss Shim recalled her experiences on the Thunderbolt Facebook© page.

{mosimage}“The Thunderbolts just came back from JCLC, Camp Eagle 2012. We have been looking forward to this since last year. We started Camp Eagle really excited about the prospects contained in the Camp Eagle training plan. The training was tough; we rappelled down a 55-foot wall. Rode a zip-line from the top of a platform 55 feet high, and learned water survival skills. We jumped into a pool, inflated a pair of ACU pants into a makeshift flotation device. We learned how to navigate through the woods using only a map and lensatic compass. We learned how to construct and negotiate a one-rope bridge as a team. We literally attacked the USMC 4th Recruit Training battalion obstacle course. Lastly, we negotiated the USMC’s famous “crucible” leadership reaction and obstacle course. We returned to home station with many “battle scars”; e.g., bruises, cuts, blisters.

{mosimage}We are proud of every, bump, bruise, scrape and sore muscle we inflicted upon ourselves during this week. Most important, we came to JCLC anticipating a week of nothing more than rigorous physical training. Surprisingly we learned much more. We learned how to lead and to march formations from one point to another. We experienced the responsibilities of different leadership positions within JROTC. We found out what being a leader entails,” she wrote.

“For me,” Miss Shim stated. “The physical training was the hardest. I was not prepared for that portion of camp at all. There were times when I felt like a failure. However, thanks to my awesome friends, those who went with me from the Thunderbolts and those I met at Parris Island. I now realize that JCLC exposed me to my shortcomings, and pointed out and what I personally needed work on. A lot of things that happened at the camp motivated me to work hard to improve the things that I lack. I look forward to returning to JCLC, Camp Eagle 2013 as a “senior cadet.”

“This camp surprised me,” Cadet Colonel Mason Mitchell, the Thunderbolt Regimental Commander stated. “I know that I learned to be a much more proficient commander for this regiment in the next school tear. This experience was one of the toughest I’ve faced in my life, and I departed camp a more confident commander.”

Cadet Command Sergeant Major Joshua Spires observed, “Camp taught me to be a better leader. I enjoyed every minute of this week. I wish that JCLC was two weeks long.” Cadet Major Chanaria Fussell, Regimental Operations Officer said “The rappel tower scared me beyond belief. I did not believe that I could overcome my fear of heights until my feet touched the ground at the bottom of the wall.” Cadet Second Lieutenant Cory Moore, the Thunderbolt drill team commander remarked, “even though the zip-line was high and scary, the ride gave me quite an adrenaline rush when I cleared the platform. I could’ve done that a dozen more times!”

Cadet Scotty Brogdon, Indian Battalion Logistics Officer stated when asked “I believe this camp was a bout leadership. If we can force ourselves to overcome our own fears, then leading our subordinate cadets will be less daunting when school starts.”

219 cadets from 14 high schools in South Georgia attended JCLC.