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It is a time-honored sequence that takes place at Mooseheart when its Naval Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (NJROTC) company command changes hand.
The outgoing company commander is called forward from the platoon, the incoming company commander’s name is announced and the sword of command is passed from one to the other. It is also tradition that the new commander does not know of the new role until moments before the change of command takes place.
So it’s no surprise Aishah Adebayo was shaking somewhat as she stood to receive the sword from outgoing company commander Abi Alade as she had only been told moments before by U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. (Ret.) Ruben Hinton of her promotion. Adebayo will lead the Mooseheart platoon through 2016-17, her senior year in high school.
“I found out as (Hinton) was putting the belt on me for the sword,” Adebayo said. “It was really nerve-wracking. I didn’t know how I was going to sound giving my first command.”
Adebayo arrived at Mooseheart in 2011 as a seventh-grader and had been involved in NJROTC all three years in high school. The program is mandatory for all Mooseheart high school students.
“Ever since I was a freshman, I’ve been active in trying to get things done,” Adebayo said. “Now that I’m a junior, I’ve grown into so many leadership roles within the program.”
Adebayo said that she and Alade have been friends for some time, which she said should help as she settles in her role as the company commander.
“I was being prepared for this and I didn’t even know it,” Adebayo said.
U.S. Navy Warrant Officer (Ret.) Rick Smith, Mooseheart’s lead NJROTC officer, said Alade’s example has been strong not only for Adebayo but for the entire Mooseheart company.
“(Alade) is going to be a hard act to follow,” Smith said. “She was the platoon leader when she was in eighth grade heading into her freshman year, and she’s been the platoon leader every year.”
Smith said Adebayo should step firmly into the leadership role.
“She’s always asking to take the lead on any opportunity that comes up,” Smith said. “She’s one of the best leaders, next to (Alade) that we have in the school. When she wants to get their attention, she commands it.”