News: Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling hosts NJROTC drill competition, begins Navy birthday celebration
Story by Joseph P Cirone
WASHINGTON - Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling’s celebration of the Navy’s 237th birthday began with the hosting of a Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps drill competition.
On Oct. 6, JBAB hosted the 14th annual NJROTC drill competition, which included 12 drill teams from 10 schools in Maryland; Virginia and the District of Columbia. This is the second year that the prestigious competition has been held at JBAB.
The Navy-led joint base was established on Oct. 1, 2010 as part of a Congressionally-mandated Base Realignment and Closure Commission initiative. It combined duplicative Air Force and Navy base operating support services at the former Bolling Air Force Base; Naval Support Facility Anacostia and Bellevue Navy Housing Area, in an effort to improve efficiency, effectiveness and be better stewards of taxpayer funding.
Navy Ceremonial Guard Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Nathan J. Strandquist, Sr. and Jon Youngdahl, JBAB protocol officer, represented JBAB commanding officer, Navy Capt. Anthony T. Calandra and coordinated the event.
Members of the Navy Ceremonial Guard helped NJROTC teams hone their skills; served as judges and provided a demonstration of their near-perfect silent drill team and colors presentation performances.
“It was my pleasure to be a part of this event for the second year in a row,” Strandquist said. “The weather was perfect, the cadets were enthusiastic, and a good time was had by all.”
Youngdahl reported, “All went well. We got really lucky with the weather,” referring to the string of rainy days earlier in the week. Youngdahl, a retired Navy Master Chief, has been involved with the event for the last eight years.
The Gaithersburg (Md.) High School NJROTC drill team earned first place in the competition. Calvert High School and Huntingtown High School NJROTC drill teams, both of Calvert County, Md., took second and third place, respectfully.
Normally, the winning NJROTC drill team has the honor of presenting the colors at the Navy’s Birthday Ball. However, this year the Navy is also celebrating the War of 1812. A Navy Color Guard from the USS Constitution will present the colors to better fit the 1812 theme.
The Gaithersburg drill team will instead present the colors at an equally prestigious event in the future, according to a Navy League of the United States National Capital Council spokesperson.
Strandquist remarked, "It was inspiring to see the dedication and work ethic that was embraced by all of the cadets that competed. It was obvious by the quality of their performances that they had put in many, many hours of extra practice in order to hone their skills.” He also complemented the NJROTC instructors for their passion and leadership in taking on the challenge of providing positive role models for the future of our Navy and the country.
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