In 2012, the Rutgers/Princeton Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Program was established to help develop future officers for the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The program here is one of the newest, but in just the span of a few years Rutgers/Princeton NROTC has shown that determination and hard work truly do pay off.
Just as athletes compete against one another in matches, meets and races, the ROTC programs across the country come together at Military Excellence Competitions (MEC) to compete in various drill and fitness events, some of which include Trick Drill, Color Guard, Basketball and Corpsman Challenges. The competitions are hosted at various universities throughout the year, such as College of the Holy Cross, Tulane University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Rutgers/Princeton NROTC participates in these competitions every year and improves each time. The East Coast NROTC equivalent of the Olympics was hosted this past Saturday at Villanova University. It is the MEC that the midshipmen look forward to most each year.
Last year, Rutgers/Princeton NROTC attended the Villanova MEC and placed third overall. This year after putting in a lot of time and effort from early morning physical training sessions and drill practices the Rutgers/Princeton NROTC Program came back victorious placing first overall due to the combined efforts of everyone in the battalion.
"I am glad to be part of a year that put Rutgers and Princeton University on the map after seeing the hard work of my peers over the past four years,” said Midshipman 1/C Ligon, who has been in the program for the past four years and is this semester’s Battalion Commanding Officer.
It is true that the midshipmen have put in the time and effort to reach this goal, but it would not be possible without the support of family, friends and also the unit’s active duty staff members. They are the ones that have instilled the Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment, and developed the minds and character of each midshipman.
The 2018 Villanova MEC will be one that the midshipmen always remember, but this is only the beginning. Looking ahead, the midshipmen know that there is always room for improvement and are eager to continue upholding the highest standards mentally, morally and physically for the Rutgers/Princeton NROTC Program.
Esha Rao is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in Astrophysics and Professional Physics. She is a midshipman in the Rutgers/Princeton Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps.