Overmountain Cadet Corps holds promotion ceremony

The Overmountain Cadet Corps held a promotion ceremony at the American Legion Watauga Post 49 Thursday evening, awarding roughly 12 members promotions and showing their parents what they have been working on.

Sergeant First Class Dane Anderson said the Overmountain Cadet Corps takes in members from beyond Carter County.

“We have three cadets from Virginia,” Anderson said.

Not officially affiliated with any school like other JROTC programs, the OCC meets at the American Legion every Thursday night and Saturday morning, going over drills and other material.

“We are a little more stringent than Boy Scouts,” he said. “They learn leadership, both how to receive and follow orders as well as how to give them out.”

The OCC structures and conducts itself similar to the U.S. Military. Regulation haircuts for all participants are required, everyone wears the same uniform, and when the cadet commander entered the room in the middle of the proceedings, right as everyone was starting to settle down a bit, every cadet in the room immediately stood at attention.

“The cadets are very respectful,” Anderson said. “We try to make a good citizen out of them.”

During the ceremony, Captain Kelly said he was proud to see how many have stayed with the program.

“It is a great program,” he said. “Stick with it. You can keep doing it.”

Part of that success, Anderson said, is the positive peer pressure the OCC gives its cadets.

“They come in here, and they follow each other’s leads,” he said. “The peer pressure helps them.”

Commander Sergeant Major Kevin Ott said they normally do the ceremony earlier in the month, but he likes seeing who sticks with the program after being in it for a few weeks.

“Most of us are volunteers that help,” Anderson said of their leadership. “It is community service.”

This selflessness comes back to the cadets, who regularly go out to serve their communities whenever there is a need, including cleanups and other work.

“We do as much as we can to help the community,” he said.

Those interested in learning more or potentially signing up can do so by contacting either Ott at 423-268-6013 or Sergeant Major Michael Dill at 423-268-4539. They can also send email to lorethab@charter.net.

The American Legion is located at 111 S. Watauga Avenue in Elizabethton.

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