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NU Air Force and Navy rotc cadets volunteer for Tunbridge fair


Norwich University Air Force Detachment and Naval Battalion Cadets brought their selfless dedication and leadership skills to Vermont’s Tunbridge Fair this past weekend, demonstrating their commitment to ROTC and their community.

“I’ve been going to the fair since I was little, so it’s always fun to go back and enjoy it; however, this time as a Cadet volunteering my time. The bonding between us is always the best part of attending Tunbridge,” said Ethan Schaal, 20, a junior midshipman in the Norwich Naval Battalion.  

Tunbridge Fair, an annual agricultural fair located in central Vermont spanning four days in September, just closed its gates for the year 2023. With thousands of visitors each year and countless activities such as livestock exhibits, horse shows, agricultural displays, rides, food vendors, musical performances, and derbies, the fair’s hectic and exciting environment can become quite rambunctious.  

Thankfully, every year Norwich University sends Cadets from both the Naval Battalion and the Air Force Detachment to not only assist the operations of the fair but also allow their Cadets to gain unforgettable memories and leadership experience.  

This year, over 75 Cadets were in attendance over the span of the weekend.  

Air Force Cadets are known to be the sole individuals who park all of the vehicles that arrive at Tunbridge. This encompasses several parking lots scattered throughout the town, as well as certain street parking. They maintain the organization of all cars and assist individuals in and out of the parking lots.  

On the other hand, Cadets from the Naval Battalion sold all of the tickets to Tunbridge visitors at multiple gates dispersed around the fairgrounds. They also transported the thousands of dollars around the grounds, securely delivering the correct amounts to the organizers of the event.  

“The fair allows freshmen to get off campus, allows them to be at ease, and gives them a good mental and physical break from the stresses of Norwich and daily life. It also gives them the experience in volunteering that makes them well-rounded Cadets,” said Liam Dearden, 21, a junior Cadet in the Air Force Detachment.  

Tunbridge is not just important for the Upperclassmen who attend to be able to experience Vermont’s rich culture. For Rooks, freshmen in the Corps of Cadets, this is often their first time off campus since they arrived back in August. Not only does Tunbridge allow them to let loose and have fun, but they are also able to meet alumni, Vermont natives, and other Cadets and form everlasting connections and bonds.  

“Tunbridge is a great bonding experience for all of the Midshipmen and Cadets. Everyone gets to hang out, all of the Rooks get to have time off of Rookdom for a while, get to know the Midshipmen, and become part of the Naval Battalion family,” said Schaal.  

Furthermore, the Norwich ROTC programs, which attend and staff the Tunbridge Fair, receive a kickback from the number of tickets sold at the gates. Oftentimes for these two groups, these funds allow Cadets to participate in exhilarating events throughout the entire year.  

“Tunbridge helps to raise money for our detachment which gives Air Force ROTC the ability to host several events throughout the year for all Cadets,” said Dearden.  

Sometimes, like this year, Cadets are at the center of the liveliness gaining once-in-a-lifetime leadership lessons. Over the weekend, NROTC Cadets were placed in a situation demanding quick and timely action.  

“We did have two Midshipmen save the life of a child. A tent fell over that was frying oil. They caught it, pushed it back up, and got everyone out of the way. It was great of them to be able to accomplish something like that,” said Schaal.  

From their extensive ROTC training, these Cadets were able to act quickly, professionally, and calmly in a way that assisted the overall welfare of the fair. Although they attend the event fully prepared to park cars and sell tickets simply, these young students accomplished what Norwich Cadets do best; protect their community at all costs.  

Throughout this entire weekend, Cadets learned valuable lessons as well as met and worked with thousands of unique individuals. They learned the value of empathy, communication, teamwork skills, and the importance of being a responsible citizen.  

While Tunbridge is already concluded for the 2023 year, AFROTC and NROTC Cadets are already buzzing with excitement about attending next year. Make sure to give them a warm hello and thank you when you see them in September of 2024!  

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About the Contributor
Sophia Righthouse
Sophia Righthouse, Staff Reporter
Sophia Righthouse is part of the Class of 2025, majoring in Political Science and English while minoring in Leadership studies. At Norwich University, Sophia has been a member of the Corps of Cadets - currently working as a Public Affairs Officer corporal and is a part of the Calvary Troop. She is also an active member in Norwich cheer. Sophia is currently working as one of The Guidon's staff reporters.
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