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Drill camp gives inside look at ROTC

A UNG cadet shows two high school students exhibition drill techniques during the Blue Ridge Rifles summer drill camp.

Next month, the University of North Georgia's (UNG) Blue Ridge Rifles will host a weeklong drill camp that offers high school students an inside look at life as an ROTC cadet at one of only six senior military colleges in the country.

BRR camps
High school students practice exhibition drill skills learned during the Blue Ridge
Rifles summer drill camp.

Geared toward high school students involved in junior ROTC, the camp features instruction in exhibition drill and regulations, physical training and team-building exercises. Students participating in the camp live in a military residence hall on UNG's Dahlonega Campus and will be able to attend short presentations about choosing a college career path.

Slots still are open in the Blue Ridge Rifles drill camp, which will be held July 7-11. The registration fee of $350 includes meals and residence hall costs. A $50 deposit is required at the time of registration. To register online or get more information, visit the Department of Continuing Education & Public Service website.

The drill camp is taught each summer by members of the Blue Ridge Rifles, a 64-year-old Corps of Cadets specialty unit that placed third in a national drill meet this spring. Taking on the role of a trainer, a model used throughout UNG's Corps of Cadets and Department of Military Science, helps cadets become better leaders. Preparing all students to become leaders in a global society is a key part of the university's mission, and UNG's drill camp helps instill leadership skills both in the JROTC students who participate and the cadets who lead the camp.

The lead instructor for the camp, Command Sgt. Maj. Cody Waits of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, is the rifles' incoming drillmaster and master sergeant of the unit. Waits, a junior majoring in computer science, started his military career in high school like many students who attend the drill camp each summer.

"I did drill exhibition in high school, so when I came to UNG as a freshman, I tried out for Blue Ridge Rifles and never looked back," said Waits, who earned the Silver Rifle Award as the unit's top freshman. "I'm ready to be the unit's drillmaster, and it's an honor and a privilege to hold this position."

The cadets won't have to wait long to use their newly honed skills as a trainer; this fall, a crop of new freshmen who need to learn routines quickly will fill out the drill team ranks. The unit has to be ready for national competition in February and freshmen are needed to replace graduating upperclassmen.

Every year, UNG commissions up to 80 qualified cadets as second lieutenants and counts some 50 generals among its alumni. With a Corps of Cadets that numbers nearly 800, UNG is designated The Military College of Georgia and a state leadership institution.

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