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It's Not Just About the Drill

  • Published
  • By by Tech. Sgt. Julianne M. Showalter
  • 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Volunteering their time, Airmen of the North Carolina Air National Guard, spent the day at Independence High School judging the annual Patriot Classic Drill Competition which drew in Air Force Junior Reserve Offices' Training Corps teams from 14 high schools with over 300 students participating. The competition is a qualifying event where winners can move onto regional and national competitions.

"We've got high schools that came in all the way from the Raleigh and Fayetteville area and from South Carolina too. The winners don't just get a trophy, but also the bragging rights to take back that they're the best JROTC," said Staff Sgt. Rita Turbeville, 145th Force Support Squadron.

While there, Airmen did much more than judge the precision of each drill category and interacted with student's answering questions about the military.

"The students are fun, and it's nice to listen to what their plans are and to see this is preparing them for the next step in life whether it's college, the military, or the work force. The JROTC program is helping them flourish," said Turbeville.

Mastering the skills needed to compete at this level requires time and practice. Cadets were judged in 11 categories to include armed and unarmed flight maneuvers, individual drill, and color guard. Each maneuver is worth four points and is scored on precision, executions and synchronization.

"We've practiced in the cold, in the wind, in the rain, and we were still outside doing drilling. It's nonstop. We work out butts off to do everything we can to set a good example for our community, ourselves, our families and uphold our core values," said Omara Hairston from North Mecklenburg High School.

Air Force Junior Reserve Offices' Training Corps is a program offered at select school with a goal to educate and train students, promote community service, and instill a higher sense of moral character.

"The motto of JROTC is building better citizens of America.
Personally, this has helped me a lot and enabled me to grow from my freshmen year to my senior year by developing my leadership skills and future military career," said Orane Richards from North Mecklenburg High School.

Staff Sgt. Maurissa Miller, 145th Security Forces Squadron, a volunteer judge for the competition said, "I wasn't even thinking about anything like this in high school. These kids are dedicated, and I can see they have put their heart into it."