Meet Riverhead NJROTC’s new senior naval science instructor

David Chiaro has been hired as the new commander of Riverhead’s NJROTC unit. The school board made the decision at its Oct. 11 meeting.

Mr. Chiaro replaces Timothy McAllister, who resigned in August after a year on the job. A second resignation was from Naval Science instructor Charles “Gunny” Mahala, who left in June after 11 years.

Mr. Chiaro’s salary is $125,143 annually. He started Oct. 17 and shared his experience at Riverhead so far and his plans for the future with Times Review Media Group.

Q: How has your experience been at Riverhead so far?

A: Coming in after the start of the new school year and witnessing the program already being presented, I was surprised by the maturity, motivation and responsibility of the senior (NS-4) students and their ability to assume the position of instructor while presenting the curriculum to the underclassmen.

Q: What goals do you hope to achieve during your tenure as senior naval instructor?

A: Glancing around the space currently being utilized for NJROTC, it is apparent that the unit has enjoyed top rankings during the preceding years. It is my goal to ensure this excellent rating is maintained for years to come and to possibly resurrect a trick (armed) drill team to compete in the national competition.

Q: What challenges do you expect to face?

A: The ever-changing military landscape and changing viewpoints in our community and our culture concerning military service may bring up some challenges to those students who choose to join the NJROTC. However, as the NJROTC has always done in the past, both those who are in authority positions and our students will face those challenges head-on and develop viable and equitable solutions to meet those challenges. For now, the challenge is for me to move as seamlessly as possible into my role as senior naval instructor and ensure that our NJROTC program continues to be the standard, as it has been, for these programs across Long Island.

Q: What is your favorite part of the job?

A: My favorite part of the job is to watch as the young people start to develop the skills, attitude and aptitude to shape their respective futures. As a grandfather of six, the future looks bright if their generation is to be led by these competent, mature individuals in the NJROTC program.

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