By Connie and Lynn Baer
In 1950, Grossmont High School’s yearbook first featured the Military Science Program, called the California Cadet Corps.
“The California Cadet Corps gives high school boys courses in military training and tactics,” wrote the El Recuerdo. “In addition to their training at school and camps, these uniformed Foothillers regulated traffic and guarded at football and basketball games and at school dances.”
The program continued until 1971 when it ended due to the controversy over the Vietnam War.
The newest exhibit in the GHS Museum features a display dedicated to the 11 known Foothillers who lost their lives in Vietnam. Thanks to Luther and Craig Burney, Classes of 1964 and 1968, we have beautifully framed rubbings of eight of their names from the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C. In addition, we have a framed 1958 yearbook page documenting the 34 Foothillers who died in WWII or the Korean War, as well as a tribute to Tom Adams, a 2003 casualty of the Iraq War. Sadly, as more names are known, they will be added to the display.
Since 2009, Grossmont High School students, boys and girls, have an opportunity to be a part of the on-campus Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC). Today, 142 Cadets are enrolled in the program. Last year, 27 seniors graduated from the program. Before graduation, two enlisted in the Navy’s nuclear power program; one enlisted in the Marine Corps, and one enlisted in the Army. At least six are enrolled in college.
According to the program’s website, the Grossmont High School NJROTC program was established in July of 2009 to “promote leadership, discipline, pride, physical and emotional well being, and personal appearance. NJROTC’s purpose is to develop good citizens and community leaders. It is not a recruiting tool, nor is there an expectation that cadets will join the military.”
In the fall of 2015, seven of the 20 members of Grossmont’s cadet rifle team distinguished themselves in their marksmanship by winning third place in the Area 11 (SoCal and Arizona) Phoenix qualifying match; and consequently qualified for the Area 11 championship in January.
Anah Rosas, the marksmanship team captain, was the match individual champion. She also earned a medal for having the highest kneeling score. Cadet Khaing Than earned two medals for the standing position and the prone position, and ninth grader Callista Zaenger earned a medal for high score in the prone position in the JV match. Winning a match is a challenge for an individual student in high school shooting sports with the margin of victory being one point out of a possible 300 points.
“We have accomplished quite a bit so far, but the season is still not over,” said Master Gunnery Sergeant Mark Brosnan, USMC (ret.), who is fondly nicknamed “Master Gunns.” “We are competing in the Southern California Championship rifle match Jan. 16 in Fontana. We have also qualified for the Area 11 (U.S. Navy) Championship on Jan. 23 at Westview High School here in San Diego.”
The entire unit is going on a field trip to the Naval Base Point Loma on Jan. 19 to tour a submarine as well as visiting the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego to watch a graduation ceremony on Feb. 5. The Cadet Ball is scheduled for March 5.
For more information about the program, please contact Mark Brosnan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
––Connie and Lynn Baer write on behalf of the Grossmont High School Museum.