NJROTC Welcomes MSgt. Phil Carter To Program

LCDR Wes Shumaker traveled to Camp Perry, OH with three female precision air rifle marksmen who call themselves ‘Commander’s Angels.’ From left, JoAnna O’Neill, Shumaker, Holly Hayes and Samantha Miller. Also competing were David Murphy and Sam Wolfe. Courtesy photo

MSgt. Phil Carter and Cadet Gianna Maggiore inspect Cadet Sarah Steinman’s uniform last week at the unit. Courtesy photo
By Cadet JoAnna O’Neill, Public Affairs Officer
LAHS Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps

As Los Alamos High School Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps heads into its 31st year, Senior Naval Science Instructor LCDR Wes Shumaker welcomes MSgt. Phil Carter to the program.

Shumaker has been leading the highly successful unit since 2002 and Carter came to Los Alamos this semester after spending five years at Rio Rancho High School and a year at Atrisco Heritage Academy High School in Albuquerque as a Marine JROTC instructor.

Shumaker says the cadets are back in full swing following a busy summer full of activities ranging from precision air rifle shooting camps to participation in the Montrose Adventure Race.

To start the summer off, Cadets David Murphy and Jonathan Schueler represented LAHS at the American Legion Boys’ State in Portales where they were placed into opposing parties and were citizens of different cities in the same county. Both cadets campaigned for state-level positions (Schueler for secretary of state and Murphy for lieutenant governor). Schueler was appointed the governor’s chief of staff and Murphy was appointed the governor’s head of personal security. 

“We learned more about state and local government than we ever had in school,” Murphy said. “Boys’ State gave us a unique opportunity to become part of the political system and meet other students from all over the state.”

Cadet Jodi Thomas participated in Girls’ State. Thomas said she wanted to participate because of her prior involvement with the American Legion. Thomas ran for lieutenant governor and won her primary election but not her general election.

“I was the only girl from Los Alamos, so I didn’t know anyone,” she said. “It was a great experience that got me out of my comfort zone.”

Cadets Victor Kim, Rigel Baron, Sam Wolfe, Mikyla Smith, JoAnna O’Neill and Felicity Kubic, along with Commander Shumaker, traveled to Montrose, Colo., for the Montrose Adventure Race, which is hosted by the Montrose High School NJROTC unit. The cadets competed in activities such as orienteering, canoe races, knot tying, and extensive physical training. Most of the activities were held at Ridgeway State Park. 

Another aquatic camp was the Sail Academy at Cochiti Reservoir, which was attended by Cadets Jared Rodriguez, Deja Sandoval, and Zach Carson. Cadets learned about boating safety, knot tying, how to sail a 14-foot laser sailboat. They also completed their initial sail qualification among other activities.

Shumaker traveled to Camp Perry, Ohio with precision air rifle team members Sam Wolfe, David Murphy, JoAnna O’Neill, Samantha Miller, and Holly Hayes who competed in the national championships for both the Civilian Marksmanship Program 3-Position and Junior Olympic Air Rifle Program. They qualified for this competition in the months prior through a series of postals and regional competitions in Albuquerque and Salt Lake City, Utah. Murphy and Wolfe also participated in shooting camps in Phoenix, Ariz.. Shumaker, a Level III Advanced Certified Coach, is a Distinguished Marksman in both rifle and pistol and has coached air rifle at LAHS since 2002. 

The LAHS NJROTC program has 85 to 105 cadets each school year. The program promotes patriotism, develops a high degree of personal honor, self-reliance, individual discipline and leadership. 

“The curriculum contains a wide variety of subjects including citizenship, naval history, naval orientation, and leadership,” Shumaker said. “Our extra-curricular activities include community service, academic teams, drill teams, marksmanship teams, color guards, orienteering, fundraising, Cyber Patriot, Sea Perch, and Team America Rocket Challenge.

Shumaker said this school year has started off well. On Sept. 6, the unit entered two teams in the annual biathlon event at La Cueva High School in Albuquerque. The biathlon is extremely challenging and consists of running and shooting air rifles, he said.

“The Los Alamos girls’ team finished in second place overall with freshman Stephanie Nielsen receiving the first place overall individual medal for girls. The boys’ team finished fourth with Sam Wolfe taking the overall third place individual medal,” Shumaker said.

Other LAHS competitors were David Murphy, Jodi Thomas, Michael Moore, Samantha Miller, Holly Hayes, Garron Burgess and Jacob Torres.

Last Saturday, the Precision Air Rifle team traveled to a Civilian Marksmanship Program Cup Match in Lubbock, Texas, where they earned second place overall. Samantha Miller placed third individually and was the highest scoring standing shooter. Sam Wolfe placed fourth individually and took the first place medal in prone with a perfect 200-20x. The team is scheduled to host Piedra Vista HIgh School in Los Alamos Saturday, Sept. 27.

LAHS NJROTC Precision Air Rifle Marksmanship Team members who competed in the national championships for both the Civilian Marksmanship Program 3-Position and Junior Olympic Air Rifle Program this summer, from left, JoAnna O’Neill, David Murphy, Sam Wolfe, Holly Hayes and Samantha Miller. Courtesy photo

LCDR Wes Shumaker chats with Cadet Jared Rodriguez following his uniform inspection last week. Courtesy photo

Cadets David Murphy, left, and Sam Wolfe participated in precision air rifle camps in Phoenix, Ariz., this summer. Courtesy photo

LAHS NJROTC cadets participated in the annual Sail Academy at Cochiti. Courtesy photo