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Air Force soars during 2018 National High School Drill Team Championships

Air Force soars during the 2018 National High School Drill Team Championships

Air Force Junior ROTC cadets stand at attention before performing their armed drill sequence during the National High School Drill Team Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida, May 4, 2018. Junior ROTC cadets from all branches of the military took part in this three day competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samuel Contreras)

Air Force soars during the 2018 National High School Drill Team Championships

A Navy drill instructor watches a group of Air Force cadets as they perform their unarmed drill routine during the National High School Drill Team Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida, May 4, 2018. One drill instructor from each branch of the military was present for all of the routines in order to provide an equal playing field during the competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Charles Welty)

Air Force soars during the 2018 National High School Drill Team Championships

Chief Master Sgt. Todd M. Simmons, Air University command chief, shakes the hand of an Air Force Junior ROTC cadet at the National High School Drill Team Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida, May 4, 2018. In addition to presenting awards, Simmons ended the event by addressing the cadets and their families during his speech. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Charles Welty)

Air Force soars during the 2018 National High School Drill Team Championships

An Air Force Junior ROTC cadet poses for a photo after being presented a trophy at the National High School Drill Team Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida, May 4, 2018. The nation’s top Junior ROTC programs from across the country came to Daytona Beach in order to showcase their skills in both armed and unarmed drill routines. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Charles Welty)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) -- The nation’s top Junior ROTC cadets traveled to Daytona Beach, Florida, May 4-6, for the 2018 National High School Drill Team Championships.

The high school students showcased their skills in both armed and unarmed categories in front of judges and military training instructors from all branches of the military during the three day event.

Teams performed their routines that they have been working on over the past year and even took part in inspections where they were tested physically and mentally.

“These kids work hard,” said Wayne Barron, Air Force Junior ROTC regional director. “They’re proud of their accomplishments and you can just tell how intense they are…(and) for a high school kid to be a national champion in some way or another, that (helps them) build a lot of confidence and pride.”

With more than 900 cadets representing them, the Air Force Junior ROTC programs shined especially bright during the competition after claiming 60 trophies, 16 of which were 1st place in their respective categories.

In addition to the young cadets and their families, the event welcomed many active duty service members and other distinguished visitors to witness the impressive displays that this competition offered.

“I’ve been blown away by this experience and (would) definitely advise anyone to (come and) experience this firsthand because this is an amazing sight to see,” said Chief Master Sgt. Todd M. Simmons, Air University command chief. “The time that they’ve put in, two to four hours a day for six months for a six to eight minute routine tells me that we’re okay as a nation and as a military because we have young people like this who are dedicated, who are committed and who are ready to face the challenges that we will face tomorrow.”

Simmons was a guest speaker during the event and helped present awards alongside Col. Paul C. Lips, Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development director.

“The level of attention to detail that they display during their drill sequences is extremely impressive,” Lips said. “The Air Force especially did really well…you see a lot of dedication and you can tell they worked really hard to get to where they are.”

Of all of the Air Force JROTC cadets that were in attendance, the cadets from Brandeis High School in San Antonio, were particularly successful after being named the overall national champions for the unarmed category. Additionally, William J. Brennan High School, also from San Antonio, were awarded the overall national champion trophy for the armed category.

More information about the event and the Air Force Junior ROTC program can be found at the Holm Center’s website: http://www.airuniversity.af.mil/Holm-Center/AFJROTC/

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