Army JROTC drill meet set in Fort Oglethorpe

Army JROTC drill meet set in Fort Oglethorpe

March 2nd, 2009 by Beverly Carroll in Georgia

IF YOU GO

What: JROTC drill meet

When: Saturday March 7, 8:30 a.m. to evening

Where: Polo Field, Barnhardt Circle, Fort Oglethorpe

Information: The event is free and open to the public; the museum will be open, and regular admission fees will apply.

Catoosa and Walker county JROTC students will have a chance to show their stuff Saturday at a regional drill competition.

About 300 participants are expected at the Polo Field in Fort Oglethorpe, said Chris McKeever, executive director of the 6th Cavalry Museum, which is hosting the event.

"The (local) JROTC has helped us; every year they help with the memorial service, and they present colors and raise the flag when we need them," Ms. McKeever said. "We wanted to do something, so we talked about the drill meet."

The museum hosted a smaller event last year that went well, she said.

"Everybody loved it, especially the schools from out of town."

Area high schools, including Ringgold, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, LaFayette, Dalton, Murray County, Cass in Cartersville, King's Academy, Americus, Creekside, Fairburn and Adairsville, are sending students to participate.

There will be 20 regulation armed and unarmed exhibition drills, including squad, platoon and individual rifle drills.

"The first-, second- and third-place winners will go to Fort Gordon (Ga.) on March 21 to compete for the best in the state," said Lt. Col. Steve Hammerstone, who heads the JROTC program at LaFayette High School. "There are Army regulations for the drills, and the commanders have to know them by heart and in order. If one is messed, I'm done."

A platoon has three squads of four people plus a leader, and a squad alone has eight people plus the leader, Lt. Col. Hammerstone said.

"The rifle competition is an individual challenge," he said. "It's good to work a little snap and pop in there."

JROTC membership equips students with life skills for their careers, whether military, trade school or university, Ringgold High School guidance counselor Nancy Prince said.

"It's a great program," Dr. Prince said. "It promotes leadership skills and teaches them to take initiative to solve problems or work toward goals. Students learn to work together, and these are character traits we all take with us throughout life, through work and school and even home."

Lt. Col. Hammerstone said the experience helps students who want to try out for military drill teams in college.