LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Army JROTC drill team from McKinley High School, Honolulu, competes in the armed exhibition division at the 2013 Army National JROTC Drill Championships, April 6, here. The annual event pits teams from U.S. Army Cadet Command’s seven JROTC brigades against each other and is designed to find the best armed and unarmed Army JROTC drill unit in the nation. The Army Nationals remain the largest Army-only competition held anywhere. (Photo by Vickey Mouzé, U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs)
Steve Arel and Vickey Mouze
U.S. Army Cadet Command
FORT KNOX, Ky. — The Army JROTC armed exhibition drill team from McKinley High School in Honolulu traveled about 5,100 miles to Louisville, Ky., to compete in its first Armywide drill competition, April 6.
The cadets traveled the farthest of any other team.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Army JROTC Cadet Zena Gran from McKinley High School, Honolulu, competes in the armed exhibition division at the 2013 Army National JROTC Drill Championships, April 6, here. Gran’s father, Zeus, is a staff sergeant in the Hawaii Army Reserve. (Photo by Vickey Mouzé, U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs)
U.S. Army Cadet Command’s (USACC) annual JROTC Drill Championships, also known as “the Army Nationals,” pits teams from USACC’s seven JROTC brigades against each other.
At exactly 9:48 a.m., McKinley’s drill team lined up and marched out onto one of the four drill pads and went through their commands.
After the performance, JROTC Cadet Lt. Col. Matthew Wong said the team had been practicing about eight hours a week for a year. The cadets agreed that they felt good about their performance. However, they would later find out that they were 12 seconds short of the required time.
Marmion (Ill.) Academy and North Miami Beach (Fla.) Senior High School won the overall titles in the armed and unarmed divisions, respectively. Competitions, such as this one, help teach JROTC cadets teamwork, discipline, to be a leader or follower, and to work together to accomplish a common goal.
More than 2,200 cadets and instructors representing 72 schools from across the country were involved in the competition at the Louisville International Convention Center, making it the largest single service meet of its kind ever held, said Justin Gates, competition director for Sports Network International, which conducts meets for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. The organization also operates the all-services National High School Drill Team Championships.
Maj. Gen. Jeff Smith, commander, USACC, served as guest speaker for the awards ceremony. He applauded the students’ accomplishment of qualifying to compete nationally, being a collective small percentage of the more than 300,000 cadets who make up the total Army JROTC.
“You all represent the best our country has to offer,” he said. “This is a national championship, and you made it here. Not many people can ever say that. That you made it here speaks to who you are and what you are doing.”