Overmountain East Tennessee Cadets JROTC seeks to create citizens

Published 9:08 pm Sunday, March 31, 2019

According to the Overmountain East Tennessee Cadets JROCT instructors SFC Dane Anderson, Sgt. Major Michael Dill, and Command Sgt. Major Kevin Ott, their organization has one main mission.
And that is “to motivate young people to become better citizens.”
Dill and Ott, who are from Johnson City, and Anderson, who calls Stoney Creek his home, are looking for recruits for the Over Mountain JROTC, a year-round, military-style program that is open to males and females of the ages of 12 to 21 from around the area.
And it’s free.
Ott, Dill, and Anderson all retired from the United States Army, and they all hope that the program will be a way for young people, who may be on a path of getting into trouble, to spend their free time in a structured and positive environment.
“We really want to keep them out of trouble,” said Dill. “Let’s be honest whether it is around this area or not, I don’t care if it Johnson City, Kingsport, or Bristol, they are going to do something. Over the year that I have been with them, I have seen cadets that were on a rocky road, and I have seen them shift from what they were doing to straightening things out.”
“To me, that is worth every penny that we put into this,” added Dill.
The program which doesn’t receive any kind of funding offers participants many different types of training. This training includes United States and Army history, civics lessons, leadership classes, range, and marksmanship training which includes firearm lessons, land navigation, first aid, and patrolling techniques. Another class that participants will get to partake in is the drown-proof class or swimming class. Elizabethton High School swim coach Jes Sutton volunteers to help out with the class.
“He is a retired lieutenant commander for the Navy,” said Ott about Sutton. “He did 30 years as a Navy diver off of submarines. He is a super sweet guy, and he always volunteers each year to help us out.”
Ott went on to say people like Sutton, who have volunteered their time to help out have really been a blessing to their program.
“We have had so many people come forward to help us and donate things for us,” said Ott. “We couldn’t have done it without them. The community has helped us out a lot.”
Along with Dill, Ott, and Anderson, the program has three other instructors who all have a military background.
The group meets on Thursday evenings at the American Legion building at 111 South Watauga Avenue in Elizabethton. Those who are interested are encouraged to contact Ott (423-268-6013) or Dill (423-268-4539).
It is also important to mention that the group is also looking for instructors who have military backgrounds.

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