Warren County High School was a busy place Saturday. There were over a dozen buses parked outside Charlie Dalton Gym as the Pioneer Battalion JRTOC played host to 14 schools in its 30th annual drill meet.
“The meet was an overall success,” said WCHS 1st Sgt. Tim Howard, who is one of the JROTC program instructors. “I think it gets better every year.”
The first sergeant is often referred to as “Top” or “Top Kick.” The nickname has obvious roots in that the first sergeant is the “top” enlisted person in the unit and that a “kick in the pants” is a motivation tool (not literally, at least in today’s military) to get the troops into gear.
The first sergeant is topped only by a sergeant major or command sergeant major in the military ranking system for non-commissioned officers.
The cadets in the Warren County JROTC did not compete, but were there to facilitate the competition. They have drill teams and they compete when another school hosts the event.
Until then it was cooking hamburgers, taking out the trash, and making sure all the visiting troops knew where and when to participate in each event and the most important part, judging events as the visiting schools compete, which is the main reason the host school doesn’t compete.
Judges must be totally impartial and follow stringent guidelines which include: Department of the Army FM 3-21.5 (FM 22-5), Department of the Navy MCOP 5060.20 Marine Corps Drill and Ceremonies Manual, Department of the Air Force AFMAN 36-2203 and Department of the Air Force AFI 36-2903.
Not to the members of the WCHS Pioneer JROTC who are trained throughout the year using Army regulations manuals (AR), field manuals (FM) and many other military resources as a matter of course. Without this attention to detail, and self-discipline, the military wouldn’t function well to say the least.
The visiting teams compete in both physical fitness (PT), color guard drills (presenting the colors, etc) and drill and ceremonies with and without rifles, both of which have their challenges. PT might sound grueling, but in order to get credit for, say a pushup, each repetition must meet the criteria set forth in the FM 21-20 which lists detailed requirements for the successful counting of repetitions down to the rest position.
For example in sit-ups, you can only rest between repetitions in the upright position, or sitting up. “The cadet may only rest in the “up” position. If the cadet rests in the down position, the test will be terminated.”
Each drill event must be coordinated as a cohesive unit, in step with all the members of the unit and each PT event must be done by the individual cadet in accordance to the proper steps.