West Virginia Guard Engineers complete obstacle course project, assist local JROTC program

By Maj. Holli Nelson | West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs | Nov. 20, 2019

SISSONVILLE, W.Va. —

Twelve engineers from the West Virginia National Guard’s 1092nd Engineer Battalion recently completed an obstacle course for Sissonville High School’s (SHS) Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (MCJROTC) earlier in November as a part of an Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program project.

The project has been in the works since June 2019, when a request was made from Sissonville High School to complete the work that had already been started. Through the IRT program, which allows for Department of Defense military units to provide services to communities throughout the nation, a unit within the West Virginia Army National Guard was identified to provide the expertise to complete the project in a timely manner.

“The purpose of this project was to provide a new and exciting way to get the cadets out of the classroom and doing something physical that requires some thinking and teamwork,” said (ret.) Master Gunnery Sgt.  Tony Lester, MCJROTC program manager at SHS. “It also affords our leaders an opportunity to teach and train their cadets to safely navigate each obstacle and move their team safely through the entire course.”

In the timespan of one week, Soldiers completed an up and over bar, low jumps, roll over log, four vault logs and a double pull over bar. In addition, the 1092nd team notched top logs on obstacles, straightened eight vertical posts, installed rebar fasteners and metal pipe as horizontal bars, and leveled the shot-put area for a concrete pad.

“Our West Virginia engineers were able to make a significant positive impact for the Sissonville High School MCJROTC program through this project,” said Lt. Col. Robert Kincaid, 1092nd Engineer Battalion commander. “The impact of their work will have lasting effects not only for Sissonville High School, but for the community at large, which is a pillar of the service we provide to our state in the National Guard.”

“The WVNG showed up worked the entire week and was instrumental in helping us complete a course that our Cadets will enjoy for many years to come,” said Lester. “We want to extend a hardy thank you to all Soldiers involved and let them know they truly made a difference in a lot of kids‘ lives.”

With the completion of the obstacle course, the MCJROTC program will now be able to provide realistic physical training for high school youth that prepares them for basic military training if they join the military. 

The MCJROTC program is a leadership education program designed to teach leadership skills, character development, self-discipline, and citizenship through the study and practical application of Marine Corps leadership traits and principles. At SHS, the MCJROTC program combines classroom instruction and practical application to achieve its objectives and is a four-year elective academic course. More than 110 cadets are currently enrolled in the program.

In addition, SHS’s MCJROTC program hosts an honors leadership course, which focuses on leadership, management, and communication skills as well as life skills, school improvement and community involvement. Cadets enrolled in this program will also benefit from the newly constructed obstacle course.

Not only did the work on this project provide a complete training course for JROTC cadets once completed, it also allowed for WVNG engineers to gain valuable training in their job skills, ensuring enhanced readiness among the force.