Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps cadets from Reed High School will take a giant step forward in their careers when they march in this year’s Pearl Harbor Memorial Day Parade in Hawaii.
On Dec. 7, the 35 cadets will help honor the men and women killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and commemorate the historic USS Nevada battleship. Only cadets from schools in states that had a ship on Battleship Row on the day of the bombing are invited to march in the parade.
This will be the first time cadets from Northern Nevada will participate.
In a recent competition, judges rated Reed’s battalion in the top 10 percent of all Navy ROTC programs in the western division. Reed’s battalion competed with 52 other programs. In fact, during inspection, a Navy captain awarded Reed cadets a distinguished unit award with honors.
Stephen Tynan, senior naval science instructor at Reed High School, attributed Reed’s selection in the parade to the award. He also credited his staff and colleagues for having a successful high school ROTC program.
“We have a very optimistic ROTC office,” he said. “Between me, retired chief Jim Walker and Chief Patrick Prell, we have about 72 years of service, so we were ready to take on any kind of challenge to get these students to Hawaii for this parade. Plus all the students involved were so hard working and committed. Once we set our goal on this trip, there was never a doubt that we could do it.”
Reed’s battalion received the parade invitation in May 2014. But funding was a challenge.
Tynan estimated that his unit needed to raise about $35,000 to pay for the trip. He and his staff went to work. Lisa Simonte, president of the school’s booster club, also responded. She helped organize about 20 different student fund-raisers last year. First, a car raffle raised about $4,000. This followed other donations from car washes, rummage sales, Tupperware sales and letter campaigns. Local golf tournaments, craft fairs and wine-tasting events also supported the drive. Later, Sparks Rotary, International Game Technology, Republican Women of Reno and other businesses and organizations contributed. The cadets eventually collected about $38,000.
But the battalion faced another dilemma. It had to choose 35 cadets from its enrollment of 193 student cadets. Students qualified through their academic record, drill-team involvement and community-service hours.
Last year, the school also raised $6,000 for 52 cadets to visit San Diego. They toured naval bases and learned about ships.
But this time the cadets will perform with other cadets and military officials in Hawaii while marching for the USS Nevada. According to military history reports, the USS Nevada was the only ship to get underway during the Pearl Harbor attack even after she was hit by a torpedo. During the attack, 50 of the Nevada’s crew were killed.
About six chaperones will accompany Tynan and the cadets to Hawaii. They will visit the USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri Memorial. .
“I’m really looking forward to the experience because this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be considered one of the candidates to march in this parade; so it will be quite an honor,” said one of the Reed cadets, Petty Officer Amelia Glowniak, who practices drills with her battalion about three times a week. “Aside from the excitement it will also be nerve-racking because I want to proudly represent my battalion and my school. I think that this achievement will help build a strong reputation for our battalion and our school.”
Cadet Petty Officer Celestina Jimenez said, “I can say we are beyond grateful for all of our community’s support, along with the help from our boosters, teachers and fellow cadets and schools that helped contribute to the success of our program.”