Panther Drill Competition

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Cadets compete in the Unarmed Knockout competition under the ever watchful eye of Drill Sgt. Douglas Homrich from A Co., 1st/321st Battalion, 98th Training Division (IET). Photo by Capt. Eric S. Henson, 1st/321st, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET), Public Affairs Officer

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The sun was out and enthusiasm was high as Carolina Forest High School hosted its annual Panther JROTC Drill Competition on Saturday, March 12, 2016. Schools from South and North Carolina were in attendance to compete in multiple categories of Military Drill & Ceremonies.

Also in attendance were Soldiers from Alpha Co., 1st/321st Battalion, 98th Training Division (IET), stationed out of Charleston, South Carolina. These Army Reserve Soldiers, who are U.S. Army Drill Sergeants, were on hand to judge the competition and provide support to Carolina Forest High School for the event.

The day began with a briefing by Senior Naval Instructor Capt. Kevin Boyle, who leads the Naval JROTC program at Carolina Forest High School. Boyle briefed the drill sergeants on station assignments for the competition as well as the judging criteria.

Schools attending the event included South Florence High School, North Myrtle Beach High School, Myrtle Beach High School, Dreher High School, Conway High School, Georgetown High School and West Lincoln High School.

Five stations were manned by Alpha Company Drill Sergeants to judge multiple events conducted by the JROTC Cadets of each school in attendance. Events included Freshman Color Guard, Exhibition Squad (Armed), Exhibition Squad (Unarmed), Color Guard, Unarmed Squad, Armed Squad, Unarmed Platoon and Armed Platoon.

A Cadet competes in the Unarmed Knockout competition. Photo by Capt. Eric S. Henson, 1st/321st, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET), Public Affairs Officer

Additionally, at the end of the day’s formal competition a “knockout” drill was conducted. In the knockout competition cadets from each school are arranged in one mass formation, and are given commands for movements.

If a cadet makes a mistake on a movement, he/she is “knocked out” of the competition until only one cadet is left who is then declared the winner.

This year’s winner for the Unarmed Knockout Competition was Cadet Nieto-Carranza, aka “Hollywood” out of Georgetown High School. The winner for Armed Knockout was Cadet Tyrese Gibson out of South Florence High School.

Cadets compete in the Color Guard competition with the Presentation of Colors to Drill Sgt. Lawrence Bodnar, A Co., 1st/321st Battalion, 98th Training Division (IET). Photo by Capt. Eric S. Henson, 1st/321st, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET), Public Affairs Officer

After all the events were completed, and the drill sergeants of Alpha Co., 1st/321st submitted their scoring totals, an awards ceremony was held to recognize the winners in each category.

The most coveted award is the Best Overall, which recognizes the school with the highest totals for the entire competition. This year’s winning school was Myrtle Beach High School, who was led at the competition by Sgt. Maj. Delgarn.

It was an exciting day of events participated in by many future armed services members. It is encouraging to see the level of dedication and commitment that our young men and women are willing to give, in order to excel in the JROTC program.

Capt. Kevin Boyle, Senior Naval Instructor with Carolina Forest High School, addresses Soldiers of A Co., 1st/321st Battalion, 98th Training Division (IET), prior to the start of the competition. Photo by Capt. Eric S. Henson, 1st/321st, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET), Public Affairs Officer

From a soon to be retired Army Officer, “I sincerely salute these young men and women for their efforts.”

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