Riverhead NJROTC Wins Nine Trophies at Southold Annual Drill Competition

December 29, 2023

Riverhead NJROTC Wins Nine Trophies at Southold Annual Drill Competition

Third Place Overall Finish and Exceptional Performances Added to Riverhead NJROTC’s Legacy of Achievement

RIVERHEAD, NEW YORK (DECEMBER 2023)—The Riverhead Central School District Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) took home nine trophies and finished third overall in the Southold NJROTC 18th Annual Drill Competition at Mattituck High School. The Riverhead NJROTC cadets, 32 students ranging in ages from 13 to 17, participated in a drill meet that featured schools from Long Island, Upstate New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

“Our cadets should be incredibly proud of their performances,” said Riverhead NJROTC Commander and Senior Naval Science Instructor David Chiaro. “They love attending competitions throughout the year, and are so dedicated and passionate that they eagerly practice outside of normal school days.”

At the 18th Annual Drill Competition, Riverhead placed first in the categories of unarmed varsity team and armed varsity team. They received second place honors in four categories—academics, unarmed trick, armed trick, and NS1 color guard team—and third place finishes in drones and NS1 academic team. Their cumulative success throughout the competition’s events produced a third-place overall finish.

The Riverhead NJROTC program possesses a long history of unit and individual accolades at area and national competitions and for overall unit achievement and improvement. Riverhead NJROTC was recognized with the Chief of Naval Education and Training (CNET) Distinguished High School Unit Award in 2001/2002, 2002/2003, 2005/2006, 2006/2007, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 and with honors in 2018. They received the CNET Unit Achievement Award in 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 and were named the most improved unit in Area 4 and the third-most improved in the nation in 2004/2005.

The Riverhead NJROTC program is available to all Riverhead students from eighth to 12th grade. The NJROTC program at Riverhead High School began as a satellite unit from Southold High School in 1974 and became independent with its own charter in 1976. Cadets engage in community service, team building activities, physical fitness, and leadership development and are given the opportunity to participate in drill competitions, air rifle, military orientation trips, and an annual social ball.

According to the national NJROTC website, the mission of the program is to “instill in students in United States secondary educational institutions the values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment.”

“Our program is not designed to prepare students for the military, but to fulfill the NJROTC mission of leadership, service, and achievement,” said Commander Chiaro. “Students also often remark that the program offers a unique opportunity to form friendships and bonds lasting far past high school.”



Riverhead NJROTC cadets perform a drill at the Southold NJROTC 18th Annual Drill Competition


Riverhead NJROTC varsity color guard performs


The second-place Riverhead unarmed trick team performs