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February 27--  The Junior ROTC Regiment representing four area school systems made a strong showing in its first-ever drill competition held earlier this year in Jupiter, Florida.  The unit's public affairs officer files this report.

By Cadet 1st Lieutenant Brittany McCord, Regimental Public Affairs Officer

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Bottom Row (L-R) CSM David Draughn, 1st Sgt. Ken Brantley  Second Row (L-R) Chanaria Fussell, Mikayla Harden, Drew Morrell, Chris Owens, Anthony Summersett, Daisha Singleton, Mason Mitchell, Corey Moore, Rickisha Smith Third Row (L-R) Jenny Shim, Jordan Fox, Octavious Haynes, Caleb Stovall, Jermaine Snell, Brian Mcree, Courtney Walker, Monica Bryant Fourth Row (L-R) Adreona Simpson, Shantae Robinson, India Phillips, Roderick Rogers, Khadijah Davis, Shakira Rogers, Amber Williams, Kadijah Mathews  Fifth Row (L-R) Clay Patrick, Keyona Reed, Karstin Poole, Josh Spires, Tony Kirby.

  The Thunderbolt Regimental drill team competed in Florida’s 3rd Region Invitational Army Junior ROTC drill meet on 28 January 2012.  The categories the cadets competed in were: Female Squad Regulation Drill (Armed); Female Squad Regulation (Unarmed); Male, Female, and Mixed Color Guard, and Male Squad Exhibition Drill (Armed).  Each of these elements won honors in competition—1st Place in Squad Exhibition Drill (Armed) category, 2nd Place in Female Squad Regulation Drill (Armed) category and 3rd place in Female Squad Regulation (Unarmed); Male, Female, and Mixed Color Guard.  This competition was the first of eight competitions that the Thunderbolts will participate in this year.

“We performed well for the first time,” Cadet Colonel Jermaine Snell, Regimental Commander and squad member of the top exhibition squad stated at the end of the competition.  “The hard work, sweat, bruised knuckles, long hours and weekends proved worthy.  I am proud of this Regiment and these cadets.”

“We entered this competition nervous, perhaps slightly intimidated, but our team worked together well and we drove on through the difficulties,” stated Cadet Sergeant Caleb Stovall, a member of the squad exhibition team.

“I was very nervous,” stated Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Courtney Walker, “but, the long hours of practice paid off.  I remember when we first started in the JROTC program, and how clumsy we felt trying to learn the manual of arms.  We’ve come a long way in a short period of time.”

“This competition was an honor for me to participate in,” said Cadet 1st Lieutenant Mason Mitchell who commanded the Thunderbolts 1st place team.  “We impressed our competitors.”

Cadet Staff Sergeant Jordan Fox, commander of the Color Guard said “We went hard, and we went home winners. The Color Guard members worked very hard to earn their trophy.  I am proud to be a Thunderbolt.”

The Thunderbolt cadets practiced many hours after school, at home and on the weekends preparing for this event.  First Sergeant (Retired) Yusvf K, Brantley one of the team’s coaches, remarked “I am very proud of these cadets and their accomplishments.  These young men and women placed a mark high on the drill competition wall for others to emulate.   These young men and young women’s dedication to the Regimental drill team is most certain laudatory.  We look forward to the future, and intend to compete and win at the Georgia State Drill Championship on March 24th.”

The Thunderbolt cadets’ discipline, motivation, and desire to succeed impressed those members of the Florida National Guard who hosted the Thunderbolts at their armory.  These non-commissioned officers left the cadets impressed by Toombs, Vidalia, Montgomery and Treutlen’s finest.  Staff Sergeant Benjamin Carman, Noncommissioned officer in charge of hosting the event presented Cadet Colonel Jermaine Snell with a plaque to point out these cadets’ dedication to excellence and discipline.  “We look forward to seeing you next year,” he said.  You epitomize your Regimental motto ‘Deeds, not Words.’