JCHS JROTC hosts Midwest schools to compete in annual drill meet

The Junction City High School JROTC Armed Regulation team performs March 27 during the JCHS JROTC drill meet. Eleven schools competed in the competition. JCHS cadets performed but their scores did not count toward trophies.

By Shandi Dix
1ST INF. DIV. POST

The Junction City High School JROTC held its annual drill meet March 27.

This year, 11 schools from Kansas and as far as Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and Oklahoma competed in the meet. Junction City High School cadets participated in the meet as if they were competing but their judging and points did not go toward the competition for trophies.

Schools competing included Abraham Lincoln High School, Council Bluffs, Iowa; Bellevue East High School and Bellevue West High School, both in Omaha, Neb.; Central High School, St. Joseph, Mo.; Lee Summit High School, Lee Summit, Mo.; Shawnee Heights High School, Tecumseh, Kan.; St. John’s Academy, Salina, Kan.; Highland Park High School, Topeka High School and Topeka West High School, all in Topeka, Kan.; and Tulsa Memorial, Tulsa, Okla.

Each drill meet competition includes armed and unarmed regulation drill, armed and unarmed exhibition drill, color guard, dual and individual drill with a weapon, and then the individual drill down.

Although Junction City did not compete to earn a trophy, they still learned from the event.

“The cadets gain experience from a wide facet of opportunities available to them,” said Esteben Perez, former cadet battalion commander. “For younger cadets new to the program, they’ll learn followership and duty by carrying out actions assigned to them by their leaders. Their leaders, second years and above, in addition to what the first years experience, will also train their leadership skills by tasking out missions and supervising their cadet’s work.”

The cadets who assist in the planning of the meet learn about administrative duties that come with hosting an event. They also develop people skills by having to interact with people such as the instructors and supporters, and they learn the planning process that comes along with long-term projects.

“This year’s meet was a unique learning experience,” Perez said. “This year, the cadets were under the management of a new (senior Army instructor), meaning new ways of doing things and not having all the info of previous years in order to do it. This meet is also a showcase of the community, school and, especially, the Bluejay Battalion.”

Members of the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club served as judges for the event.

“The Fort Riley (Sgt.) Audie Murphy Club assisted with the grading of the JCHS drill meet to set the JCHS JROTC above the others,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Lemon, operations noncommissioned officer, Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Infantry Division.

Lemon said other high school JROTC programs use random, junior enlisted Soldiers from all branches to grade their competitions.

The Sgt. Audie Murphy Club has assisted as judges for several years.

Local businesses donated food and drinks for the hospitality room that served the team coaches, bus drivers, judges and Junction City cadets assisting with the meet.

Parents also volunteered their support by assisting with the hospitality room, pancake breakfast and concession stand. Representatives from the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team and former cadets currently enrolled in ROTC at Kansas State University also served as judges.

Placing first in the armed regulation was Bellevue East High School; second place went to Bellevue West High School 1 and third to Central High School.

Bellevue East High School and Bellevue West High School 2 took first and second place, respectively, in the armed exhibition as well.

Saint John’s Military Academy placed third.

Overall armed regulation awards went to Bellevue East High School for first. Second and third place went to Bellevue West High School 2 and 1, respectively.

First place overall in unarmed regulation went to Bellevue West High School 2, and second place went to Bellevue East High School.

Third place went to Bellevue West High School 1.

Bellevue West High School 1 and 2 took first and second place, respectively, in overall regulation drill. Third place went to Bellevue East High School.

The overall champion for the meet was Bellevue West High School 2.

(This article was published in the April 2, 2010, issue of The 1st Infantry Division Post.)

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