NAVAL AIR FACILITY ATSUGI, Japan (March 3, 2020) -- Members of the Zama Middle High School Junior Reserve Officers' Corps "Trojan Battalion" spent the evening socializing, reminiscing and building camaraderie during their annual ball here Feb. 29.
"Enjoy the present. Plan for the future," was the theme, and Cadet Lt. Col. Maxwell Orlosky, the battalion's commander, and U.S. Army Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Billy Norman, the guest speaker, told nearly 100 cadets and guests at the Trilogy Club to heed the theme's advice.
Norman said that whatever the cadets have planned for their futures, his guidance is to stay realistic.
"Learn a skill that will help you be seen as a valuable asset in today's competitive market," Norman said.
For example, the world is in need of certified public accountants, engineers and computer programmers, Norman said.
"Whatever you do, think realistically, because you can check with every college in the world, and at none of them are you going to be able to major in being a YouTube star with a minor in doing the 'Renegade Dance' on TikTok," Norman joked.
Orlosky, meanwhile, encouraged his fellow cadets to live in the moment with an eye toward the future.
"It sounds simple enough [to live in the moment], but we as human beings have an incredibly difficult time enjoying the moment," Orlosky said. "No matter how much you plan, you never know for sure how life is going to play out."
The only time you ever know how your life is going to turn out is in the present, Orlosky said, and that is also the only time we can exercise any amount of control.
"The moment that you have right now is a gift," Orlosky said. "Enjoy less stress by relishing the moment. Understand that plans don't always have to turn out as expected. Accept the present for what it is and find enjoyment wherever it is. Plan as you feel necessary. Save money for the future. Invest in yourself. Set goals for yourself."
Orlosky offered as an example the life of Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, an ace fighter pilot during World War I who had 26 aerial victories and received the Medal of Honor.
"[Rickenbacker] was one of American's most successful fighter aces in the war," Orlosky said. "He was also a race car driver, an automotive designer and a government consultant. What Rickenbacker was doing was living life to the fullest, and this is what you're supposed to do, be like Capt. Rickenbacker."
Norman noted that the school's JROTC program has 57 cadets this year, which is about 10 percent of the school's student body.
The battalion has a lot to be proud of this year, Norman said, such as coming in first in the Pacific East District Kanto Plains Drill and Color Guard Competition. In addition, the marksmanship team's junior varsity team came in first in the Kanto Plain Invitational Three-Position Marksmanship Match in January.
The evening also included dinner, several videos that featured the cadets, and a ceremony honoring the battalion's eight graduating senior cadets.
In addition to Wayne Carter, principal of Zama Middle High School, guests included Col. Thomas Matelski, commander of USAG Japan, and his wife Amy; U.S. Navy Capt. Lloyd B. "Chilly" Mack, commander of Naval Air Facility Atsugi, and his wife Carletta; U.S. Marine Corps Col. Michael Reilly, commander of the Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, and his wife Amy,l and U.S. Navy Commander David Orlosky, executive officer for Naval Air Facility Atsugi.
Cadet Pfc. Tanner Byard, serving as master of ceremonies, told the audience that officials founded the battalion May 31, 1991, and to date, the battalion has instructed more than 2,000 cadets.
In the JROTC program, cadets learn drill and ceremonies, marksmanship, leadership skills and proper etiquette, Byard said.
Cadets also participate in the annual JROTC Leadership and Academic Bowl, as well as the Cadet Leadership Challenge, which includes a high-intensity adventure course, use of the Engagement Skills Trainer for weapons, a rigorous land navigation course, a foot march, a helicopter flight and a culminating physical challenge, Byard said.
In addition, members of the battalion support USAG Japan Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation at community events that require a color guard, Byard said.
Orlosky said that by participating in JROTC, members of the battalion form a common ground and establish good memories that will last for years.
"Here at the Trojan Battalion, we value and cherish the friendships that we make," Orlosky said.