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Bob Jones AFJROTC sharpens skills at Grissom meet

MADISON – Cadets in Air Force Junior ROTC from Bob Jones High School improved their marksmanship and showmanship at the first annual Grissom High School Drill Meet in Huntsville.

The AFJROTC Color Guard claimed first place in the “Armed” and “Unarmed” categories. In another top win, the Bob Jones Drill team placed first in “Unarmed Squad Regulation.”

The students also earned second place in “Unarmed Platoon” and third place in both the “Armed Squad” and “Armed Platoon” categories.

“Although our Color Guard has 14 members with many new trainees, at the recent Grissom competition four of our members performed both the Armed and Unarmed routine,” retired Chief Master Sgt. Ellis Clark said. Clark works as aerospace science instructor at Bob Jones.

Cadet Col. Eric Petersen commanded the Color Guard in the American flag position. Currently, Petersen is assigned as the unit’s Standardization Evaluation Representative.

Cadet Lt. Col. Alexis Mawhirter performed as the organizational Flag Bearer. His current assignment is the program’s Deputy Wing Commander.

Cadet Maj. Caleb Lombard worked with the organizational flag guard. Lombard serves as Squadron First Sergeant.

Cadet Capt. Andrew Girgis handled the national flag guard. Currently, he is a flight commander.

“In this competition, although labeled Armed and the other Unarmed, the four-person Color Guard team performs the exact same routine. However, the scores are used for two separate categories within the drill competition,” Clark said.

The team had to navigate (via marching) a floor space measuring 40 feet square, while completing a series of 21 sequenced commands. “All participating teams are scored on the same routing,” Clark said. “The judges naturally give higher scores to the team that executes the maneuvers with higher precision and technical skills.”

Color guard teams use the Daisy 1903 replica rifle, which weighs almost nine pounds. Cadets must maneuver the rifle with an exactness, properly synced between the two guards to make the routine look superb, he said.

“My students’ main strengths center around their ability to execute their movements together when the team commander gives commands. This requires a lot of focus and awareness of each team members’ physical abilities,” Clark said. “Even though a routine may take approximately seven minutes to perform, the routine is very demanding, both mentally and physically.”

Bob Jones Drill Team and Color Guard are preparing for Redstone Sergeants Major Drill Competition and Air Force Nationals Competition, both in March. The Marksmanship Team is planning for an eight-week air-rifle competition.

Bob Jones Archery Team entered a contest at Mill Creek Elementary School in January and will enter another archery competition in February at Liberty Middle School. “It’s great watching our cadets find their niche and expand their world of experiences while participating in our program,” Clark said.

For more information, visit orionscoringsystem.com/AirRifleLeague.

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