Hazel Green Navy JROTC tops at Commander’s Cup at Bob Jones

MADISON – For the first time, Air Force JROTC at Bob Jones High School presented an in-person drill meet by hosting the Rocket City Commander’s Cup Drill Competition on Nov. 5.

The Commander’s Cup involved a full day of precision drill, marching and exhibition.

“Last year, we hosted a virtual drill meet that was highly successful,” Dr. Melissa M. Lacey, Maj., USAF, said. “Over 15 sponsors, including Sen. Arthur Orr, government contractors and local businesses, provided funds to purchase trophies, shirts and equipment for the drill meet. Participants enjoyed coffee and beignets from PJ’s Coffee.

CMSgt. Ellis Clark instructs aerospace science at Bob Jones, as does Lacey.

Planning began in August for Commander’s Cup when AFJROTC cadets volunteered to serve on the planning committee. “We decided, based on our experiences attending other drill competitions, that we would change the way teams would compete at our drill competition,” Lacey said. “Time ‘hacks’ were established for each team, which greatly streamlined the competition.”

Ten schools with 13 teams competed in 10 separate categories of drill. In military regulated precision drill and exhibition drill, students completed routines created using precision movements. “Categories included unarmed routines, as well as armed routines, where units marched and performed using non-functional drill rifles,” Lacey said.

Each platoon/flight and squad-size element in Armed and Unarmed, Color Guard and Team Exhibition competitions received first- through third-place trophies. “Additionally, we recognized Knockout Drill Competition winners. One overall trophy, the Commander’s Cup, was awarded to the top team in the Armed and Unarmed events.

“Bob Jones award-winning drill team did not compete since we served as the host, but cadets worked as scoring runners for the judges, set-up and broke down the drill pads and manned a concession stand throughout the day,” Lacey said.

Hazel Green High School Navy JROTC won both main categories, Armed Regulation and Unarmed Regulation, along with the overall Commander’s Cup.

“Bob Jones AFJROTC is the finest (unit) in the entire state of Alabama. Your unit put on a first-rate drill competition that deserves to be a national one, and not just a regional one,” Naval Science Instructor Lt. Commander Joel Hill with Hazel Green said. Hill directed his comments to Lacey.

“Representation of different schools and services was top notch. We were happy and honored just to be invited to compete against some of the best students that Alabama and Tennessee have to offer,” Hill said. Each school should be proud of how well their kids competed, and you can tell how hard they worked, not only at this event, but at school as well.”

“To have been awarded overall armed and unarmed competition as well as the overall winner, was unexpected but was accepted with great appreciation of the teams we competed against. Every team out there, I feel, equally did a fantastic job, and we learned so much from watching the other teams and learning from them,” Hill said.

“To have won against these great teams and these great schools was indeed an honor. The competition is the best drill meet I have been to in my time as a Navy JROTC instructor. If we are invited back, we will be more than happy to do so!” Hill said.

The other participating groups represented Army units from high schools, except when noted: James Clemens, Madison; Prattville for Air Force; Sparkman, Monrovia; Hazel Green for Navy; Hoover for Air Force; Lee/New Century, Huntsville; Huntsville for Space Force; William Blount, Maryville, Tenn. for Air Force; Columbia, Huntsville; Greenville; and U.S. Army Cadet Command.

For more information, visit bjhs.madisoncity.k12.al.us.

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