Cadets taste military life at Camp Semaphore

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Rappelling down a 60-foot tower was not the highlight of Desiree Williams' three days at Camp Semaphore, an annual camp for Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets at Fort Gordon.

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A frightened Desiree Williams, 15, gets instructions from Lt. Michael Cansler at the top of the rappel tower on Thursday.  Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
A frightened Desiree Williams, 15, gets instructions from Lt. Michael Cansler at the top of the rappel tower on Thursday.

"I thought I was going to die. I did not like it," said Desiree, a junior at Lucy C. Laney High School.

With the lieutenant barking instructions from atop the tower, cadets holding her rope and other cadets cheering her descent, Desiree overcame her fear Thursday. She didn't plan to repeat the experience.

About 230 students from 11 Georgia high schools, including Butler, Evans, Academy of Richmond County, Lakeside, Harlem and Glenn Hills, participated in the camp Tuesday through Thursday.

Cadets learned about land navigation, first aid and water safety. They went through an obstacle course and over a one-rope bridge.

The camp provides cadets with a taste of military life.

Madeline Scott, a sophomore at Evans High School, said she is part of JROTC because she plans to join the military after high school. The camp opened her eyes.

"I realized it's a little harder than I thought," she said.

Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Horton, the JROTC instructor at Hephzibah High School, said the session helps instructors see cadets' potential. It helps them give advice to their company commanders when filling future leadership roles, he said.

"They are more well rounded," he said.

Reach Charmain Brackett at

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valleygrad99 06/05/09 - 07:56 am
Excellent program! I had the

Excellent program! I had the pleasure of attending some 20+ years ago. Keep up the good work.

redapples 06/05/09 - 08:40 am
The time, effort and

The time, effort and dedication put into this program by instructors is unbelievable and appreciated!!

KingJames 06/05/09 - 12:49 pm
I totally agree with this

I totally agree with this program. I didn't attend as a cadet, but went to NJROTC Leadership Academy. It was a little bit longer than Camp Semaphore, but the concept was the same. Best wishes on future endeavors to all the cadets. The skills they learned at camp will be with them forever.

john 06/05/09 - 03:49 pm
Gee they are doing all the

Gee they are doing all the fun stuff. I notice there is no motor pool, police call, motor pool, buffing floors, motor pool... ahh a day in the life!

JUST_ME 06/05/09 - 11:11 pm
My son was able to attend

My son was able to attend this camp...He really enjoyed it..

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