Tomahawk Company holds annual parade

MARYSVILLE — Teamwork, discipline and attention to detail were themes that ran throughout the Marysville-Pilchuck High School Naval Junior ROTC “Tomahawk Company” annual evening parade Feb. 26 in the M-PHS gym.

After the cadets fell in to their respective squadrons and dressed their formations, the platoon commanders reported all were present and accounted for, in time for the presentation of the colors and the playing of the National Anthem by Navy Band Northwest, one of only 17 U.S. Navy Bands in the world. Among the officers piped aboard were retired U.S. Navy Capt. Dan Wenceslao, area manager of NJROTC Area 13, and Rear Adm. James Symonds, commander of Navy Region Northwest, the latter of whom served as the reviewing officer for the event.

Wenceslao took the time to re-enlist Yeoman 1st Class Devyn Hicks, before recognizing him for his meritorious service, as area administrative assistant for NJROTC Area 13 from January of 2007 to January of 2009. Wenceslao described Hicks’ leadership as instrumental in the success of five leadership academies and four dynamic instructor training seminars for NJROTC in nine states, Guam and Japan. Hicks’ wife Hitomi was unable to attend the ceremony, but Wenceslao praised her as well, since “the toughest job in the Navy is a Navy wife,” and Wenceslao credited Hitomi Hicks with contributing to her husband’s success through her support.

“I know some of you guys have seen me before,” Devyn Hicks told the NJROTC cadets. “I hope that maybe I left a mark in your lives. Go on and be great citizens, employees, students or whatever else.”

Wenceslao joked that Symonds had missed his opportunity to become an NJROTC instructor by getting promoted too high, since the highest rank that an NJROTC instructor can hold is captain, so to make up for this, Wenceslao officially made Symonds an honorary instructor, much to Symonds’ amused appreciation.

Before the cadets conducted their pass-in-review and the drill teams performed for the audience, Symonds addressed Tomahawk Company as a whole, congratulating them for receiving recognition from the commander of Naval Education and Training Command for the 10th consecutive year, logging more than 900 community service hours and collecting more than 100 pairs of eyeglasses for the Marysville Lions Club “Recycle for Sight” program. Even more than their participation in Operation Marysville Community Christmas, collection drives for the Marysville Community Food Bank, or the Marysville “Adopt a Street” program, Symonds lauded the M-PHS NJROTC for learning skills and developing character traits that will serve them well in their adult years, regardless of whether they join the military or not.

“You have shown that you’re willing to give back to your community, for the opportunities you’ve had through your school and the Junior ROTC,” Symonds said. “That ethic, and that effort, will follow you the rest of your life. Teamwork, leadership, integrity, discipline, responsibility for your own actions and attention to detail, all taken together, will make you a more valuable citizen in the future, and you’ll be thankful that you worked hard to learn those things here.”

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