Post Vice Commander Inspects Notre Dame Cadets

UTICA, NY, Dec. 16, 2010 -- Christopher Urban, a retired Navy commander who is first vice commander of Utica Post 229, spent Dec. 15 inspecting all 91 cadets in the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) at Notre Dame Junior/Senior High School, Utica.

The Observer-Dispatch captured the event in an article and photograph, showing Urban stopping in front of one cadet, sophomore Jonathan Heuser, and asking: "Who's the secretary of state?" As the cadet replied, "Hillary Clinton, sir," Urban nodded approvingly and moved on.

Once a year, the O-D story said, the cadets are inspected by a naval officer, and they shine their shoes and practice drills tirelessly in preparation for the inspection.

The cadets "have been more prepared this year than other years,” retired Marine Master Sergeant Howard Keyes, who instructs the students, told O-D reporter Daniel Bader. “I couldn’t ask more of them.”

When Urban finished his individual inspections, the Armed and Unarmed Trick Drill Team march in neat order, the unarmed in intricate patterns, and the armed team’s rifles spinning in the air.

Keyes told O-D that the program, while military in nature, was not a recruiting tool, and that fewer than 1-percent of the students continue on to the military. What the elective program does do, he said, is instill life skills, such as discipline and teamwork.

“It’s a citizenship leadership class,” he said in the article.