JROTC State Championship held at KAFB - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

JROTC State Championship held at KAFB

(Photo source: WLOX News) (Photo source: WLOX News)
(Photo source: WLOX News) (Photo source: WLOX News)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

On Saturday, JROTC cadets from all over the state converged on Keesler Air Force Base for a day of competition.

Only its second year, the Mississippi All Services JROTC Drill Championship is already a big success according to Captain John Lewis, who says he saw a void that needed to be filled. As the JROTC Bureau Director with the Mississippi Department of Education, Lewis felt up to the task.

"We have our state football, and basketball championships, weightlifting championships and everything else. We thought we should have the same thing for our students in JROTC," said Lewis.

There are 87 eligible units throughout the state, but the road to the championship is a process.

"Each of these teams had to finish among the top three at their regional qualifying drill meet," Lewis added.

Only 18 teams make it to the big competition, but that's still a lot of people. Lewis estimates around 400 cadets compete at this level. He says Keesler's generosity and accommodations made the event possible.

"We're very impressed with what we see from the cadets. You see them from the time they get off the buses until the time that they march out here they are very sharp, focused, and determined to be the very best," said Captain Edwin Pratt of KAFB.

The very best is what schools from the top of the state to the bottom are competing to be, including Lake Cormorant's JROTC program. Carolyn Davis-Byrd came to support her daughter, Carlyn in the competition.

"I would say as a mother, I'm not from the military so it's interesting to me. The kids are very respectful. They're learning something that can take them on into their life career," said Davis-Byrd.

According to Davis-Byrd, her daughter has grown through the JROTC program and says it's competitions like this one that bring out the best in her daughter.

"Just being a leader. It's going to help them and structure them," said Davis-Byrd.

The competition was Saturday only and cadets competed in events like armed and unarmed demonstrations, and were graded in personnel inspections.
    
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