ROTC drill conference attracts 100s
January 26, 2009 · Updated 4:03 PM
ARLINGTON — The "no guns" rule at Arlington High School was waived Jan. 17 so the school could host the Olympic Division of the Northwest Drill & Rifle Conference for the first time. In its third year at AHS, the AHS JROTC program brought more than 400 people to town to compete, support and observe.
Jose Correa and Kevin Schroeder, in Navy Unit Guard at Everett High School, participated in a dual-armed exhibition, swirling their rifles through the air in unison, just after two students from Marysville-Pilchuck High School, Kody Duran and Tony Deal. The Everett teacher, Commander Rich Gile, retired from the Navy, is in his second year teaching and is thrilled about working with the kids.
"The cool thing about Junior ROTC is there's something for everyone. Sports are exclusive, with places for only the best, but ROTC is inclusive," Gile said. "It's all about training kids to be good citizens." Gile said that ROTC is not about recruiting for the military. It's more about leadership and responsibility.
"They get the kind of responsibility that no other students get. They get true leadership experience," Gile said.
Jose Correa said that JROTC teaches life skills that help you to be a better person. His father, Luis Correa said he is very happy with how his son has changed since getting involved with ROTC.
"He's got a whole new attitude," Luis Correa said.
"He's always looking for new friends and something to do for the community."
All four branches of the Armed Services were represented with schools from Oak Harbor, Burlington-Edison, Marysville, Everett, Mariner, Snohomish, Federal Way, Todd Beamer and Mt. Tahoma.
"Our first JROTC Northwest Olympic Drill Division Jan. 17 was a huge success," said Master Sgt. Al Moore, aerospace science instructor at AHS.
"Ten schools attended with more than 400 people. AHS Color Guard Team no. 1 placed third overall. AHS Color Guard Team no. 2 placed fifth. The AHS Drill Team placed third, and the AHS Physical Strength Team took second place. Sean Gregory took third and Sherman Pruitt took fourth out of a total of 30 competing males in the physical strength competition which was composed of push ups, sit ups and a one-mile run," Moore said.
Moore's son, Alvin Moore Jr. placed first in the overall drill team commander category which was comprised of uniform inspections, regulation and exhibition drill routines. Moore Jr said he was excited to win first place at the first competition of the season.
"We'll be competing again in two weeks, in Burlington," he said, explaining that they attend a regional conference about every three- to five weeks.
His father wanted to give thanks to all who helped make the event a success.
"Our hats are off to all of our cadets and a special thanks to the school administration, teachers, staff, volunteers and family members who assisted in making this event possible," said Master Sgt. Alvin Moore.
The head of the program at AHS, Major Mike Blue explained how the conferences work.
"The students compete in a multitude of events and, like track, they pick and choose in which events they will compete," Blue said.
"There are 12 different drill sequences that can be used for each competition and the host school chooses which one they will use, informing all participating teams three weeks prior to the event."
Team events include:
• Color guard regulation drill
• Unarmed regulation and exhibition drill
• Armed regulation and exhibition drill
• Unarmed and armed inspection
• Physical strength
• Air rifle sporter and precision (This is a team score but they also compete individually.)
• Armed individual exhibition drill
• Dual-armed exhibition drill
• Unarmed and armed "Drill Down"