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Quantico's JROTC brings home the gold . . . again

by Lance Cpl. Antwaun Jefferson

Quantico Sentry
Quantico VA | March 10, 2012

The Quantico Middle/High School’s Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (MCROTC) traveled to Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria to face off against eight other schools that offer MCJROTC in the Mount Vernon Invitational Drill Team Competition on Saturday.

The primary goal of the Quantico MCJROTC program is to familiarize cadets with basic military skills and traditions of the Marine Corps, while developing those necessary qualities of leadership; character, confidence, and self-discipline. With all of the qualities of a great team being taught to them, by retired Col. Paul Roy, the senior Marine instructor and retired Sgt. Maj. Jose Diaz, the Marine instructor, there hard work and attention to detail won them the competition for the 12th time.

Being the reigning champions, Quantico knew everyone was going to be gunning for them and there would be little room for error. So, Quantico had to keep their composure and discipline on high.

“When we get off this bus there will be no hugging, laughing or horsing around,” Diaz said. “Let’s put our game faces on.”

The competition was steep as Quantico was up against eight other high schools: Phoebus, Snow Hill, Tucker, Gar-field, Hermitage, Pocomoke, Mount Vernon and Easternview. Judging the completion were non commissioned officers from the Staff NCO Academy here in Quantico.

“Even though we’re pretty confident and excited, nothing else is on our mind but drill,” said Ronald, the senior drill team commander for Quantico.  “I think we’re going to win. I know I’m not leaving until we get at least one first place trophy.”

After the drill commander’s brief, where all the leaders with each section talk about how the competition will go and ask any questions before it begins, the competition started with inspections.

The first event tested the cadet’s bearing, Marine Corps knowledge and overall appearance. Nerves were going through all the cadets as some stumbled over knowledge while others lost their bearing.

One cadet from Phoebus was asked by a gunnery sergeant, who the sergeant major of the Marine Corps was. Already flustered, the cadet answered …General Micheal Barrett.

“I think we were one of the better schools in this one,” Ronald said. “Others kept stuttering or losing their bearing way too much during the questioning portion.”

Up next was the color guard competition.

Quantico’s color guard was comprised of Ronald; Kaysie, a senior cadet;  Dakota, the color guard commander; and Jeremiah, a sophomore cadet.

Quantico had a near flawless routine, with their only flaw being Dakota’s dress blue’s cover falling of his head half-way through the routine. Fortunately for them, the judges don’t take off points for covers falling off. They could have taken point for bearing, but Dakota kept his composure throughout the whole routine.

After color guard, it was on to the unarmed drill portion.

With one drill mistake in unarmed drill portion, where a Quantico cadet mistakenly turned left instead of right, Ronald didn’t want Quantico to lose their drive, so he had a few words of encouragement for them after their portion was finished.

“I don’t care what just happened out there, but we are winning this next event,” Ronald said. “I don’t want to hear we messed up or we might not win the competition. We were doing great and we are not going to stop now because of a little mishap. Let’s go out here and finish this competition right.”

The last two events were armed drill and knock-out. During knock out, where cadets were given a command and had to execute them without error, Dakota was one of seven winners, where more than 50 cadets competed.

After all events were completed, winners of each section of the competition were named.

Quantico placed third in inspection, while Tucker took first. Quantico placed first in color guard and second in unarmed. Not placing in the top three of the armed portion, all of Quantico’s cadets were at the edge of their seats waiting to hear the winner of the overall competition.

“Our facing movements weren’t as good as we would have liked,” said Lawrence, a junior cadet. “But we still went out there, did our best, kept our heads high and, hopefully, we will come out with first place.”

It came down to 35 points that separated first from second place. Quantico had taken the win for the 12th time, keeping their undefeated record untarnished.

They did a good job out there,” Roy said. “It gets closer and closer each year, yet this is just the battle though, the war is yet to come.”

Quantico will now head to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. for Region 6 drill team championship on March 30-31, where the first-year cadets will compete as well.

 See corresponding images with the Quantico Sentry article.

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