Support our mission
Kadena High School JROTC cadet 1st. Lt. Lester Macabasco attempts to start a fire using flint on Friday at a Kadena Air Base training area. Ninety cadets living on Okinawa spent last week in leadership training, doing everything from squad tactics to gas mask training in a chamber.

Kadena High School JROTC cadet 1st. Lt. Lester Macabasco attempts to start a fire using flint on Friday at a Kadena Air Base training area. Ninety cadets living on Okinawa spent last week in leadership training, doing everything from squad tactics to gas mask training in a chamber. (Fred Zimmerman / S&S)

Kadena High School JROTC cadet 1st. Lt. Lester Macabasco attempts to start a fire using flint on Friday at a Kadena Air Base training area. Ninety cadets living on Okinawa spent last week in leadership training, doing everything from squad tactics to gas mask training in a chamber.

Kadena High School JROTC cadet 1st. Lt. Lester Macabasco attempts to start a fire using flint on Friday at a Kadena Air Base training area. Ninety cadets living on Okinawa spent last week in leadership training, doing everything from squad tactics to gas mask training in a chamber. (Fred Zimmerman / S&S)

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Dave McKinney, from the 320th Special Tactics Squadron, teaches Kubasaki and Kadena high school JROTC students how to choose a terrain feature to use as a guide during land navigation training on Friday.

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Dave McKinney, from the 320th Special Tactics Squadron, teaches Kubasaki and Kadena high school JROTC students how to choose a terrain feature to use as a guide during land navigation training on Friday. (Fred Zimmerman / S&S)

Kadena High School JROTC cadet Staff Sgt. Krystal Cassidy talks to a fellow team member after plotting a route on a map during navigation training.

Kadena High School JROTC cadet Staff Sgt. Krystal Cassidy talks to a fellow team member after plotting a route on a map during navigation training. (Fred Zimmerman / S&S)

KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — While most of their high-school peers were sleeping in or planning days of summer vacation fun, JROTC students from Kadena and Kubasaki high schools were going back to school — military style.

Ninety cadets spent last week in leadership training, said retired Senior Master Sgt. Anthony Galvez, aerospace science instructor with Kadena High School’s JROTC program. Galvez said students lived on Camp Hansen for the week and received training from Marine Wing Support Squadron 172 and the Air Force’s 353rd Special Operations Group.

“We couldn’t do any of this without their support,” Galvez said.

With the focus on leadership, students new to the weeklong exercise were taught teamwork. For those who have participated before, the training “works on their leadership and management techniques,” Galvez said.

Air Force Cadet 1st Lt. Lester Macabasco, a senior at Kadena attending the training for a second time, said it’s much different now that he’s second in command. “It’s a great experience because you get to deal with so many different personalities,” he said. “It’s exhilarating seeing how those personalities mesh together at the end, and how everyone matures as a group.”

Skills taught during the week included squad tactics, firing weapons on a simulator, water survival, communications, land navigation, first aid, rappelling, and gas mask training in a chamber. Cadets also had an hour of physical training starting at 5 a.m. every day.

Cadet Staff Sgt. Krystal Cassidy, a junior at Kadena, said the training is “intense but worth it because you gain a little muscle.”

The hardest thing about the week, she said, is trying to get the cadets under her to get their things in order.

“I have to get them to do their stuff before I can do mine … because they’re more important,” Cassidy said of the leadership training. “I’ve gained their respect, and they’ve earned mine.”


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up