BLT, or Basic Leadership Training, is a mini bootcamp hosted by Troy High School’s NJROTC unit, or Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps which can be an alternative to take Physical Education.
Students, known as cadets, are taught things like how to march and care for a uniform, and, depending on which JROTC team one tries out for, how to shoot an air rifle, navigate with a map, secure a computer from threats, and more. Cadets receive chances to become leaders among students and have a sense of responsibility and belonging. A majority of people agree that it’s a great experience to go through.
BLT is hosted early in the school year. This year, as soon as the cadets entered the North Gym, the place they were directed to, they were bombarded with yelled commands and taunts like “hustle, hustle…NO DON’T RUN! WHY ARE YOU RUNNING? WALK FASTER!” Cadets were ordered to study their “knowledge” (information that is required to be memorized and repeated during uniform inspection days) while waiting for all of the cadets to appear.
Cadets were divided into 10 platoons: Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, and Juliett. When all of the cadets arrived, males were ordered to set their sleeping gear down on the gym while the females were marched over to the South Gym to set their sleeping gear up there. Cadets received a snack, and the rest of the day was really just getting acquainted with one’s own platoon. All cadets were given “lights out” at 2200, or 10 o’clock, and the song “Taps” was played by a bugler. Many cadets soon fell asleep, assuring themselves that BLT wouldn’t be that bad.
Only to be woken up abruptly at 5:30 sharp. Seemingly at the same time, the lights turned on with a flash, the same bugler played “Reveille” very loudly, and the platoon commanders went around the entire place banging metal chairs on the ground. Cadets, sleepy and disoriented, shot up into positions of attention. Cadets were ordered to dress up, pack up their sleeping bags, and line up for PT, or Physical Training.
After a few simple exercises, cadets were given breakfast. After breakfast, cadets went around stations, learning about uniform and hair standards. After theses stations, cadets went around for PT, going from station to station doing push-ups, sit-ups, flutter-kicks and more. Then the platoons competed in a friendly tug-of-war game. The winner of these games went up against the senior platoon commanders in a final game. In a surprising twist, the senior platoon commanders lost to the freshman, much to their consternation. Lunch was dished out, and cadets were given time to shine their shoes and clean their uniforms.
After cleaning the uniforms, cadets were given a mock uniform-trial, which many failed. Dinner was given, and then cadets were given free time before lights out at 2200 again.
Cadets were prepared for “Reveille” on Sunday morning, and as soon as the lights turned on more than half of the kids were already on their feet, at the position of attention. Cadets were awarded their new rates (ranks) and a ribbon for attending BLT. Then the cadets were sent home, to their joy.