MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
The platoon unarmed drill team from the Quantico Middle/High School Marine Corps JROTC program won first place at the Region 6 Drill Meet Competition in Gray, Tenn. on March 29, 2014.
Since the QMHS drill team became a part of Region 6 in 2011, they have been invited to every championship making this year the third year that they have competed.
“They put many hours on the drill deck, “said retired Sgt. Maj. Jose Diaz, an instructor for the drill team. “For them, practice started at 6:30 every morning. That’s an hour before school starts.”
All QMHS MCJROTC students begin drill at the beginning of every school year as part of the curriculum and then join the drill team, if they are interested in perfecting their skills and competing. Diaz said the team is composed of volunteers whom have to have the desire to win.
“As they develop that confidence and execution of movement, you can see the fire in them,” said Diaz.
On top of practicing every morning, and sometimes during school hours, the commanders of each section have to memorize their routine card. Each card contains 35 or more commands.
“We went to three drill competitions before going to the region championship, and I completely forgot my card in the middle of the first competition,” said Nicole, a senior at QMHS and the platoon unarmed commander. “We got dead last place, but it served as a learning lesson.”
The team improved at each competition, that led to the championship, where they finally earned first place and beat the drill team that had taken all the other first place trophies.
“It was really exciting because obviously, we went from dead last place to second place at our second competition, then finally we perfected it. It felt really good,” said Nicole.
The drill team placed 5th overall, competing against the top 15 schools within Region 6.