North Fork NJROTC rounds out another fine year

The Southold-Mattituck-Greenport NJROTC at in this year’s Memorial Day parade in Mattituck. (Credit: The Suffolk Times)

The Southold-Mattituck-Greenport Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps unit has been ranked third among more than 600 such groups worldwide, which marks the sixth year in a row it has ranked in the top 10. In addition, the North Fork program won the award for Area 4’s most outstanding unit for the eighth time in its history.

Area 4 comprises states from Delaware to Maine as well as western Pennsylvania, with over 50 NJROTC units.

Senior naval science instructor Major Bill Grigonis said he’s extremely proud of his 313 cadets, who come from Southold, Mattituck and Greenport high schools. All of the cadets were judged on community service and academic standing, among other accomplishments.

“These kids are amazing,” Maj. Grigonis said. “It’s not the kids doing drills. It’s flat-out community service, excelling in academics and support the schools.”

Five local NJROTC cadets will graduate this month with full college scholarships: Cadet Lieutenant Gary Prieto will attend the U.S. Naval Academy; Cadet Captain Valentina Hommel, The Citadel Military College; Cadet Lieutenant Kevin Schwartz, Holy Cross; Cadet Commander Jamie Grigonis (the major’s daughter), Fordham University; and Cadet Lieutenant Mark McCaskie, Hofstra University.

Maj. Grigonis said highlights of his unit’s community service efforts include volunteering at East End Hospice and helping to clean up beaches across Southold Town.

“We’ve removed 85 tons of debris in three years,” he said. “So many kids help out and it helps the entire North Shore.”

The North Fork NJROTC unit won multiple top awards during this school year, including first place in the overall division at a competition in Mastic Beach and first place in the overall senior and freshman divisions at the All Service Long Island Drill/Academic/Athletic Championships in Freeport.

Cadet Commander Jamie Grigonis and Cadet Lieutenant Commander Dory Lieblein took first and second place, respectively, as the year’s top cadets, chosen by the New York State Department of the American Legion.

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NJROTC marching in this year's Memorial Day parade in Mattituck. (Credit: The Suffolk Times)