More than a half million student cadets are currently enrolled in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) programs in high schools throughout the country. These future military leaders tackle a variety of classes ranging from military science and leadership to critical thinking and life skills.

JROTC cadet also focus heavily on the development of team work and discipline which is enhanced by their participation in drum corps, color guard and drill team units. 

Every November, the USS Midway Museum hosts the region’s largest competition for Navy JROTC drill teams. More than 200 cadets representing 11 high schools from Southern California and Arizona assembled on the carrier’s flight deck to strut their stuff.

“Having an opportunity to compete on the flight deck of the Midway with views of San Diego Bay and Coronado in the background is a once in lifetime event for our cadets and our supporting families,” said retired Navy Cmdr. Eric Wever, a senior naval science Instructor at Patrick Henry High School, who coordinated the drill competition.

Drilling has been a critical part of training for JROTC cadets for more than 100 years. Along with leadership and discipline, cadets learn the importance of attention to detail by seeing that even little things can make a big difference. They also gain self-confidence.

“This event gives students the experience to work together as a unit and to practice competing at a high level,” said Jeremy Fuller, a retired Navy senior chief petty officer who is an JROTC instructor at Cienega High School in Vail, Ariz.

It was evident in the faces of each of the cadets the sense of pride they had in themselves and their teams.

“I could see how determined they were to drill with excellence as they displayed their discipline, training and spirit,” said Paulette Mello, Midway’s community outreach coordinator. “It was also great to witness how the drill competition on Midway has evolved from a few schools participating initially to numerous units competing today. This competition aboard the ship brings a special level of excitement for the cadets. I’m proud we can host this annual event.”

“This is my third year competing on the Midway,” said Brayden Buchanan, a senior at Patrick Henry High School. “Each and every time has been an honor to be here. It was wonderful to be on an historic place like the Midway to conduct this event.”

While the judges were impressed by the performances of all the drill teams, the competition was ultimately won by NJROTC unit from Paloma Valley High School from Menifee, Calif.

“This event is the highlight of our competition schedule,” said Eric. “We love working with the staff and volunteers of the Midway. They are the best.”

Comments are closed.