Saturday, Feb. 27, the Blue Devil Battalion competed in the Pre-Area 11 Drill Competition held at Chipley High School. There were five high school JROTC programs (East Gadsen, Vernon, Chipley, Holmes County and Liberty County) from the Area 11 Region that took part in the Drill and Ceremony Competition. As the day progressed the competition was very close for all schools competing, and will return Friday, March 11 to face the same judges to compete and hopefully earn a chance to represent their school in the Florida State Drill Championships.
The Holmes County’s Male Color Guard Team commanded by Cadet Staff Sergeant Nickolas Major and Female Color Guard Team commanded by Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Bethany Jones recorded a first place over a tough Chipley Tiger male and female Color Guard Team.
The Holmes County Regulation (Female) Squad commanded by Cadet Sergeant Stella Waldron placed first by edging out their counterparts from East Gadsden. Although the Holmes County Regulation Unarmed (Male) Squad commanded by Cadet Second Lieutenant Jacob Murley finished fourth, there is some well-deserved recognition that needs to be addressed.
The squad performed exceptionally well. Cadet Private John Willford, a cadet with the heart of a Champion, who despite adversity with a disability, competed for his very first time. John’s hard work and attention to detail enabled him to be present and on time to all practices and competitions. His personal courage allowed him to overcome his fears, march onto the field and compete, earning him a Drill Cord to display on his uniform.
The Regulation Male Mixed Unarmed Platoon, commanded by Cadet Sergeant First Class Sydney Shugars was able to edge out and place first over a strong Chipley Tiger’s Platoon. At the end of the day a Regulation Unarmed Knock-Out Drill was held. There were approximately 104 cadets who entered the competition. The Knock-Out Drill is a competition that challenges the cadets’ ability to take orders and conduct stationary movements without hesitation. The top three cadets were awarded certificates. 3rd place went to Cadet Sergeant Stella Waldron from Holmes County. 2nd place went to Cadet Second Lieutenant Jacob Murley from Holmes County. The winner of the Knock-Out Drill went to Cadet First Lieutenant Jackie Powell from Holmes County.