This April, the Churchill High School JROTC cadets will compete in the United States Army JROTC National Drill Competition in Louisville, Kentucky. Each year in April the United States Army Cadet Command hosts a national drill competition featuring 50 of the best JROTC units from around the world. The drill competition is held in Louisville, Kentucky, near the home of the United States Army Cadet Command, at Fort Knox. The one-day competition serves as the Official Army JROTC National Drill Championship. To participate in the drill championship JROTC battalions must place in the top 5 in the regional competition. The North East Independent School District falls within the 5th Brigade region, encompassing Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Texas. This year 50 armed and the same number of unarmed drill units competed in a rigorous four-phase competition to determine to determine which of the nation’s Army JROTC drill teams are the best.
The four-phase competition includes an inspection phase, a regulation drill phase, a color guard phase, and an exhibition phase. The regulation and exhibition drill phases of competition are among the most challenging. During the regulation phase of competition the cadets are required to perform a series traditional drill and ceremony routines. Exhibition drill phase is considerably different and Cadets are encouraged to develop original, exciting drill routines to highlight their teamwork, precision, and skills. Only four members of the team are required to compete in the color guard phase of competition.
The color guard, similar to those seen at many of our football games and other venues, must complete a very specific routine within a specified amount of time and limited area. The color guard must be flawless. This year’s Queen’s Guard color guard commander, Cadet Laura Kwon, spent nearly three months her team to qualify for a national championship and for a shot at earning a national title. The inspection phase is a nerve-racking event that can appear intimidating for many.
“It is an amazing thing to see”, said First Sergeant William Parr, Army Instructor at Winston Churchill High School.
“Most of these cadets weigh about 120 pounds soaking wet, and they stand there, toe to toe, with a big burly Army Drill Instructor, getting grilled on difficult to answer questions and inspected for uniform deficiencies, without flinching.”
This year, both the Black Watch armed drill team commanded by Cadet First Lieutenant Jesus Flores, and the Queen’s Guard unarmed drill team, commanded by Cadet Command Sergeant Major Natale Heilmann, qualified to compete in the United States Army Cadet Command National Drill Championship in Louisville, Kentucky. Both teams performed admirably, with the Queen’s Guard drill team earning a very respectable 4th place finish and the Black Watch drill team also finishing towards the top. Reflecting on the experience, Cadet
Command Sergeant Major Natale Heilmann commented, “this experience has been one of the most challenging of my life, I will never forget it.”
Posted on 04/11/2017