At one time, the Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Program at Gloucester High School was on the brink of folding due to low enrollment. In recent years its numbers have grown, and this year the unit is 175 cadets strong. It also boasts two consecutive years of Achievement Award status.
The GHS unit’s chief administrator, Commander Ronald Harding, is now in his 18th year with the program. Harding said he is not sure what has driven more students to choose ROTC, but he said the higher numbers mean more students have the opportunity to participate not only in naval science but also in the wide variety of activities that a large unit can offer.
Harding is now assisted by Senior Chief Al Grant who joined the unit three years ago. With Harding’s seasoned leadership and Grant’s added energy, the GHS unit has earned the NJROTC Achievement Award for exceptional performance in each of the past two years.