Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press

Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press

Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press

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Behind the NJROTC Scenes with Eowyn Ream

Clomp, clomp, clomp. The dull thudding of meticulously polished Oxford shoes cuts through the silence of the assembly as Lieutenant Commander Eowyn Ream leads the NJROTC Color Guard across the gym floor. An impassive expression cloaks her face as she yells out commands with pride. 

As Commanding Officer (C.O.) of the entire Liberty Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC)  Unit, Ream is responsible for the well-being of the unit.

“My responsibility is to set an example for everyone and lead people,” Ream said. “As C.O, I’m also the final decision maker, but it usually doesn’t come down to that.” 

Not everyone can manage to be the commander of two teams as well as the C.O, but Ream is already entering her 2nd year of being Armed Drill Commander and her first year of being Color Guard Commander. 

“For Armed Drill, I lead the practices and then I have more practical responsibilities, such as calling all the commands,” Ream said. 

Armed Drill and Color Guard are two of nine NJROTC teams at Liberty, which participate in competitions during the school year. 

“During a drill practice, we stand in a rectangle arrangement called a formation,” Ream said. “When I’m leading, I call commands such as ‘right face’, which means turn right 90 degrees.”

Competition season hasn’t started yet for NJROTC, but preparations are already underway.

“For the Color Guard, I essentially make sure that everyone who’s holding a rifle or flag knows what they’re doing at all given times,” Ream said. 

This year, Ream is hoping to take part in the optional Dual-Armed event, which is outside of the typical NJROTC event. 

“Essentially we spin rifles in a box for three minutes at the same time and then we get judged and compared to other people,” said Cadet Lieutenant junior grade and senior, Allison Marckel, who is preparing for the event alongside Ream. 

In comparison to team events, such as Color Guard, individual events like Dual-Armed result in medals. After four years in NJROTC, Ream has accumulated 22 medals. 

“It’s like having a bucket list, and Dual-Armed was one of the last events I needed to check off my list,” Ream said.

In order to prepare for the event, Ream and Marckel, along with the rest of their team, watch videos of former cadets and people from regionals or nationals. From there, they integrate those steps into a brand new routine. 

“Eowyn is a great leader and she’s always honest with the people around her,” said Marckel. “I really look up to her in that aspect.” 

Armed drill is considered on the more intensive teams in NJROTC because of the time it takes to develop the strength and muscle required to maneuver 8.5 pound rifles. Despite this, Ream joined in her freshman year. 

“I wasn’t a very strong person, so picking something that was difficult challenged me in a way I don’t usually challenge myself,” Ream said. “Armed drill was a way to overcome those of fears of ‘I’m not strong enough to do this.’” 

Although it seems that Ream cannot go any higher, she didn’t always know that NJROTC was the place for her.

“In my freshman year, I joined NJROTC because I didn’t want to do P.E,” Ream said. “Everything was online, so I wasn’t the most engaged, but I always admired the people who were leading the class.”

For Ream, everything solidified at NJROTC’s end-of-the-year ceremony, which was the first in-person event they held that year.

“That’s when I was like ‘whoa’ there’s a C.O,” Ream said. “She gave some kind of motivational speech about her graduating and that was when I was thought to myself, ‘I kind of want that, I want to be C.O.’”

After watching people in leadership positions, Ream realized that she wanted to be part of the NJROTC community.  

“Before NJROTC, I hadn’t distinguished myself in any sort of community, and I was always in the background,” Ream said. “NJROTC was the first place where I was like ‘I’m good at this, I’m getting recognized for what I’m doing.’” 

Just last year, Ream became the first person in the unit to win at the state level for writing an essay on how joining NJROTC impacted her.                                                                                                                                                                   

“One misconception is that NJROTC is just a military program, but it’s more about taking good people and building them up so they can create a difference,” Ream said. “I’ve always had strengths that I didn’t feel were valued, but with NJROTC, they fit perfectly with the program.”

From a freshman attending NJROTC Zoom classes to becoming the C.O. of the whole unit, Ream has carved out a place for herself in Liberty. 

“One of my favorite things about NJROTC is how it brings people together, “ Ream said. “There are some really interesting people and some truly incredible people, and watching them come together can be really entertaining.”

 

About the Contributor
Alexa Lim, Spotlight Editor
Alexa Lim is a junior at Liberty High School and the Spotlight Editor in the Patriot Press. In her free time, she enjoys painting, reading, and writing.