News: UTEP host 13th annual ROTC drill meet
Story by Staff Sgt. Kulani Lakanaria
EL PASO, Texas - The University of Texas El Paso’s Military Science Department and the Corps of Cadets held the 13th Annual Army Reserve Officers Training Corps Invitational Drill and Military Skills Meet on March 29, 2014.
The drill meet brought together Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadets from multiple military branches and various high schools from Texas to Arizona.
“I think UTEP hosting the drill meet every year is a great idea,” said Cadet Robert Hancock, a native from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and the cadet commander of Franklin High School’s Air Force JROTC program. “We are the only Air Force JROTC until Albuquerque so we got to represent. We’re a speck of blue among a wave of green.”
Soldiers from Fort Bliss volunteered their time to judge the cadets on physical fitness, armed and unarmed drill teams, a color guard and an air rifle competition.
The physical fitness competition consisted of two minutes of push-ups and sit-ups and a one-mile run.
The drill teams competed in three phases.
During the first phase cadets were tested on basic military knowledge and a uniform inspection, followed by the regulation phase where cadets conducted drill and ceremony according to Army regulation that governs all Soldiers, and lastly during the exhibition phase cadets were judged on creativity and precision.
“We practiced every week leading up to the drill meet,” Hancock said. “We go over our drill routines on the black top. This team is outstanding; they could march off the bat. We stress attention to detail as much as possible. It was nerve racking, but it’s all muscle memory. All these drill teams are really good.”
Many awards were given out for each individual event.
El Paso’s Del Valle High School won the overall best JROTC award.
“I’m pretty psyched that we won the overall trophy,” said Cadet Cristian Sandovor, an El Paso native, and the cadet battalion commander for Del Valle High School. “I’m proud of the battalion and all the cadets that competed. We will come back next year to defend that trophy.”
“We build cohesion with the JROTC and establish a mentor to mentee relationship,” said Cadet Ethan Reimers, a native of Fort Bragg, N.C., and the officer in charge of organizing the event. “We always have good feedback from the JROTC cadets and they look forward to coming out here every year.”