Cadres and cadets of the Saipan Southern High and Dr. Rita Hocog Inos High School once again ruled the PSS JROTC Annual Drill Competition held last Saturday at the Marianas High School.
With their victories, SSHS and the Rota high school will represent the CNMI in the Golden Bear National Drill Meet set next month at Joint Base Alamitos in California.
The Manta Ray’s JROTC team was hailed the overall winner in the armed division and adjudged official delegate to compete in the armed drill category of the national event.
The 25-member SSHS troop was headed by battalion commander Donna Pascual, who said she was overwhelmed by the honor.
This year, SSHS took home seven major awards in the statewide competition, including the gold awards in armed drill, armed color guard, armed regulation, unarmed drill/saver color, and exhibition. The troop was also named second place for fancy unarmed category, and third best team for unarmed regulation category.
Being the statewide overall champion for the armed division, SSHS will once again compete in the national event—the fourth consecutive year for the group since 2011.
Like the battalion commander, SSHS Senior Army Instructor CSM (retired) Richard Basa said the group’s latest achievement is testament to the dedication and commitment of students. It was disclosed that the team had been rehearsing for the competition since October last year.
For the national unarmed drill category, the CNMI will be sending cadets from Dr. Rita Hocog Inos High School JROTC to compete in the national event after it won the overall award for the unarmed division.
They will be traveling to California on April 22, together with the SSHS team. The national competition is set on April 26. The CNMI team will be against 60 school districts in the U.S. mainland, including representatives from Nevada, San Diego, Las Vegas, Arizona, among others.
According to CNMI JROTC Director of Army Instruction, LTC (retired) Bob Gay, the recent drill competition showcased the hard work and technical skills of all five JROTC high school drill teams in the Commonwealth.
Gay claimed that the level of competition this year was the best he has seen the past seven years.
In the same ceremony on Saturday, the CNMI-PSS—led by State Board of Education member Tanya King—recognized and presented the “Lifelong Service Award” to Sgt. Major (retired) Herman Atalig for his 17 years of service to the JROTC program. Atalig is the former Rota JROTC program senior instructor.
Saturday’s competition also saw the participation of LTC Jay Blakely, professor of Military Science at the University of Guam SROTC Program. Blakely and his group served as evaluators for the event.
In his remarks, Gay also specifically recognized CPT Ernest Torres and 1SG Gene Guzman for hosting the drill meet at the MHS Campus and the effective coordination of the air support for the Rota and Tinian cadets.