Capt. Bryant Hepstall, Naval Air Systems Command’s Military Director, Aviation Readiness and Resources Analysis Department (AIR 6.8), replaces a cadet’s cover during the Patuxent River High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (NJRTOC) Area Manager’s Inspection Nov. 5 in Lusby, Maryland. (U.S. Navy photo by Denise Krumenacker)

Lusby, MD — Two officers from Naval Air Systems Command Logistics and Industrial Operations (AIR 6.0) community got back to basics during the Patuxent River High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (NJRTOC) Area Manager’s Inspection Nov. 5 in Calvert County.

Captains Bryant Hepstall and Eric Schoch served as part of the official party for the event and inspected the cadets’ uniforms and quizzed them on general military knowledge and current events. The annual inspection is to certify the NJROTC is operating in compliance with governing directives.

“The Area Manager’s Inspection is very important to any cadet in the unit,” said Cadet Brian Mazzone. “It allows for the individual to really show what knowledge gained over the years in a truly professional and ceremonious way. Whether it’s reciting a general order or performing basic drill, a single cadet has the potential to rise above and excel, which really gets kids motivated for such inspections.”

Hepstall, who said this was his first time participating in the event, said he was very impressed with the cadets’ knowledge and military bearing.

“It was hard to believe that they were only high school cadets and not actual military,” Hepstall said. “They were very professional and seemed mature beyond their years.  I truly believe that these youngsters are getting a good start on life via the JROTC program. They have many opportunities for growth to include team building, leadership, and selflessness through community service — all qualities of successful people today and in the future.”

The official party and guests were also treated to drill performances and demonstrations by the cadets.

“The overall performance was quite impressive,” Hepstall said. “It was obvious that countless hours of practice and preparation were invested in preparing for this annual event. Most impressive was the precision marching by the all-female cadet squad and the coed rifle drill team.”

While the captains were impressed with the performances and professionalism of the cadets, the real dividends were in the lasting impression the officers made on the cadets.

“Having the captains at the school for the inspection was truly an honor,” Mazzone said. “They brought a sense of professionalism that seemed unmatched by all. They showed some of the younger cadets, who have less knowledge about the NJROTC program at Patuxent, that inspections and even the military overall isn’t just about yelling and screaming. Both captains displayed how inspections, much like the

Area Manager’s Inspection are used to evaluate performance among a unit.”