CNMI drill teams perform exceptionally in Calif. drill meet


The Golden Bear West Coast Drill Meet is a national drill competition hosted by CSM (retired) Raul Duran on an annual basis. This year the competition took place at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base.
This GBWC drill meet was founded in April 2000 and has grown to be one of the largest national drill meets of the West Coast in the United States. The drill meet consisted of four schools from Guam and Saipan as well as 12 schools from the Western States outside of California. The rest of the schools hailed from the state of California, making a whopping total of 62 schools. Competing teams included Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, and Navy units. These teams came from the public school domain, private schools, and military academies.

This was the second consecutive year that the CNMI drill teams have competed in this national competition. The CNMI PSS JROTC Program was proudly represented by the Saipan Southern High School Drill Team in the Armed Category and the Rota High School Drill Team in the Unarmed Category. These teams performed exceptionally during the competition.

The drill competition’s portion of the day included individual cadet, two-man, four-man, armed team, and unarmed team competitions. In the Armed Category, schools competed with demilitarized rifles to perform routines consisting of marching, spinning, and tossing with sharpness and precision. The Unarmed Category consisted of creating beats with the hands and feet. These beats must be done with uniformity to create a champion. The color guard category is among the most stressful and demanding category of all. A four-man team consists of an American flag bearer, state flag bearer, and two guards with demilitarized rifles.

Saipan Southern High School JROTC finished second overall in the Armed Division in the Combined Sweepstakes. They won first place in the Varsity Armed Regulation Event, third place in the Armed Color Guard, third place in the Armed Dual Exhibition, third place in the Novice Color Guard, first place for the Most Outstanding Commander Overall in the Armed Division, and first place in Unarmed and Armed “Tap Out” Event.

Rota High School took fifth place in the Unarmed Regulation Drill Event and fifth place in the Armed Exhibition Event.

All of the CNMI PSS JROTC instructors and assistants deserve a great deal of credit and recognition for their outstanding training of these highly motivated cadets. The level of execution has risen markedly over the past few years across the board for all five of our programs.

The SSHS cadre included Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Basa and Sgt. Maj. Joaquin Kiyoshi. Rota High School JROTC cadre included Master Sgt. Juan Salas, SFC Chris Sarmiento, and Leadership Corps instructor Edwin Orilla.

LTC (retired) Bob Gay, director of Army Instruction, stated that the level of performance and execution demonstrated by the CNMI PSS JROTC drill teams was outstanding. “It was evident during our own CNMI drill meet last month that each of our JROTC drill teams had markedly improved.”

Gay said that all of the CNMI JROTC Programs have collectively worked hard to ensure that cadets have the opportunity to compete at the national level, not only in drill but also in academics and leadership. This year Kagman High school qualified two teams for the National JROTC Leadership and Academic Bowl finals. This is the first time a CNMI JROTC Program has qualified in both academics and leadership in the same year. Saipan Southern High School JROTC also qualified this year for J/LAB in the leadership competition. Only the top 3 percent of the 1,700 JROTC programs worldwide make the cut for this prestigious honor.

“We will continue to develop and compete in events such as this one and provide the opportunity for our cadets to go up against the best in the nation,” Gay said.

He thanked the Board of Education, the Education Commissioner, and all of the principals and administrators for their support of the JROTC. He also recognized and thanked the JROTC DAI MSU Office Staff for their effective and loyal support. He also singled out the great work done by the CNMI PSS Central Staff, to include Finance, Federal Programs and Travel.

Gay and staff also thanked the Golden Bear Drill Meet director Duran for hosting the event for the past 10 years. “The level of operational and logistical support required to host an event of this magnitude is prodigious,” Gay said. (PR)

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