More than a dozen Navy JROTC members treated for heat-related illness at Naval Station Great Lakes

Naval ROTC Midshipmen participate in a combat conditioning trainer during Sea Trials at Naval Station Newport in Rhode Island on June 6, 2018.


By FRANK S. ABDERHOLDEN | The Lake County News-Sun | Published: July 27, 2019

Note: This article has been corrected.

LAKE COUNTY, Ill. (Tribune News Service) — Fifteen recent high school graduates were transported to area hospitals Friday afternoon for heat-related injuries that occurred during outdoor activities at Naval Station Great Lakes in North Chicago, with authorities reporting were all considered to be in stable or better condition.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Frederick Martin said the individuals are all Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) members participating in a new program called New Student Indoctrination (NSI), in which recent high school graduates come to Great Lakes’ boot camp facilities for a three-week course involving training and militarization.

Initial reports said that the NROTC members were working out at Freedom Hall, a modern workout facility that has amenities that include six-lane running tracks and a fitness center. But Martin said they were outside of Freedom Hall.

“They were receiving a briefing on physical training, and several students felt unwell and were transported to the hospital in an abundance of caution," Martin added. “They were evaluated by our medical personnel on site.”

According to Martin, the NROTC members have their activities supervised, and they are instructed on hydration. He said the students’ indoctrination requires them to move quickly all the time.

“They were not engaged in physical training. The young men and women were being taught to do exercises,” Martin said. He added that all the NROTC members will be attending college in the fall, and they are the second group of recent high school graduates to come through the base, totaling 500.

“This is a new program, and they just arrived this week. We had a pilot program last year,” said Martin, public affairs officer for the Naval Service Training Command, which includes the NROTC.

“The program is designed to give standard militarization training to the students, no matter what college they are attending,” he said.

According to the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps website the students had a ceremonial oath when they arrived on Wednesday and they are scheduled to graduate on Aug. 13.

“The mission of New Student Indoctrination (NSI) is to provide standardized basic military instruction to Midshipmen Candidates in order to facilitate successful integration of new students into Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps and college life,” according to the website.

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Correction: This report has been corrected to reflect that the high school graduates are not members of an NJROTC program.

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