Southold NJROTC unit named best in the nation

05/13/2011 3:35 PM |

Members of the NJROTC program with group leader Major Bill Grigonis (right) during a recent drill competition in Florida.

Just when members of the Mattituck-Southold-Greenport Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps thought it couldn’t get any better than being named the top unit in its district, it got better.

Much, much better.

The local unit has been named tops in the United States.

Word of the honor came Friday from unit leader, Major William Grigonis, who said it’s the first time in the North Fork program’s 37-year history that cadets have taken that coveted title.

“This award has been a building block process over the years and we have to recognize not only today’s cadets, but also those cadets that have worked so hard for this unit,” Major Grigonis said.

The award recognizes overall unit excellence in the areas of school and community leadership, annual inspection results, drill competitions and other achievements.

There are 622 NJROTC units throughout the world and the unit that almost wasn’t is the best of all. It took a special act of Congress in 2008, signed by then President George Bush, that enabled the three-school unit to continue.

Two years earlier the Defense Department indicated it would enforce rules on the books since 2001 prohibiting satellite programs, such as the Southold NJROTC. That would have forced each of the three schools to launch its own independent unit at considerable cost above the federal support given to such programs.

Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) went to bat for the unit, securing the special resolution.

Just last week, Major Grigonis announced that the unit was, for the fifth successive year, Area 4’s Most Outstanding Unit. The area comprises 52 units from Maine to Delaware and west to Pittsburgh, PA.

He also announce that three of his cadets — Cadet Battalion Executive Officer Kim Krupski, Cadet Commander Billy Goggins and Cadet Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Reyer — took first, second and third places respectively as the top cadets in the area.



8 Comment

  • What an honor – great job!

  • That’s a job well done. Congratulations to Major Grigonis and his crew.

  • Congratulations ranking #1 reflects well directed efforts.

    I wonder if anyone has looked into the costs of this program?
    In many cases JROTC programs cost more per-pupil than non-military academic and local school districts end up paying substantially more than the cost estimates.

  • Benja, you need to come sit and talk with me some day……..Obviously you are not too well schooled on the funding and costs of the NJROTC Program. We could have a cup of coffee on me ( not the school district or taxpayer or the Navy). Semper Fi, Major Grigonis:-)))

  • Benja, you need to come sit and talk with me some day……..Major Grigonis:-)))

  • Benja is just an old school leftie. He can’t help the visceral reaction he has towards anthing to do with the military.

    I’d wager that the cost to districts of ALL the ROTC programs on Long Island don’t add up to the cost of a single unionized teacher’s pension.

  • Benja, My momma taught me to think before I speak.

    Congrats Mattituck-Southold-Greenport NJROTC!


  • My husband and I are both alumni of the program (he was Southold and I was Mattituck). We were in when Chief Clausen and Cheif Sumwalt were our instructors. We will both tell you this program changes lives. It got me on the right path. I went on to college and am now a teacher myself where I have a picture of myself and Chief Sumwalt on my desk to remind me how a teacher can change lives. I loved every minitue of it. I think I was only only cadet who begged to go to mini bootcamp every year.

    11 years later I am even prouder to say I am an alumni of this unit.

    ~ Former Cadet Lt. Carolyn Brannon (now Kramkowski) former Executive Officer