Eagle River cadets take several honors at Interior Drill Meet
The Eagle River High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps knows how to drill in unison.
Three of its teams – Armed Exhibition, Armed Regulation and Unarmed Regulation – earned first place and two of its teams – First Year Unarmed Regulation and Regulation Color Guard – earned second place at the Interior Drill Meet held at West Valley High School in Fairbanks on Dec. 5, 2015. An individual member – Cadet Captain Josh Lewis – earned second place overall in the Individual Armed Exhibition category.
Yet Lewis, a senior, was more favorably impressed with the effort of the AE drill team which he led.
“I am incredibly proud of how well my Armed Exhibition team performed considering they went from not being able to do a simple spin at the beginning of this school year to throwing rifles over each other’s heads,” Lewis said.
Maneuvers made by members of an AE drill team are some of the most advanced in ROTC competition with team members generally being more experienced cadets.
ERHS instructors David Ennis and Bill McNew were equally pleased with how the AE team performed at the Interior meet – a statewide event drawing ROTC units from across Alaska.
“Our Armed Exhibition team started from scratch this year under the command of Cadet Captain Lewis, a former Army JROTC cadet,” McNew said. “This team worked exceptionally hard to learn how to spin rifles and execute their sequence.”
The commanders of the other winning teams are as follows: Armed Regulation, Cadet 2nd Lt. Brady McGee, junior; First Year Unarmed Regulation, Cadet Airman Alyssa White, freshman; Regulation Color Guard, Cadet Lt. Col Brandon Fast, senior; and Unarmed Regulation, Cadet 2nd Lt. Danny Thomas, junior.
Aside from the ERHS teams, other high schools represented included: Eielson, Lathrup, North Pole, Service, South, West and the host, West Valley. The competition consisted of seven group categories and one individual category with awards being given for first, second and third places. With six placings, ERHS won the most awards for all participating high schools.
Members of the ERHS and South JROTC units flew up to Fairbanks on an Alaska Air National Guard C-17 operated by the 249th Airlift Squadron and West flew on an AANC C-130 operated by the 211th Rescue Squadron. These flights were conducted as part of Guard Weekend training, McNew said. They returned home Sun., Dec. 6 via the Alaska Railroad.
The unit’s next major competition is Jan 16, 2016, at ERHS. McNew expects anywhere from ten to 12 schools to participate in the state-wide invitational and seeks community donations to support the event.
Connect with the ERHS Air Force JROTC online at www.eagleriverhighschool.com/afjrotc or via phone at 742-2718.