KEESLER AFB, BILOXI (WLOX) - Student airmen took some time away from the classroom to cheer on their drill teams on the parade field Friday. Members from Keesler's 81st Training Wing spent the morning competing for the title of Drill Down Champion.
The drill down pits four squadrons against each other to compete in three different events all showcasing military bearing and team work. Tech. Sgt. Zachary Bartlett has been at Keesler for six years and has taken part in several drill down events.
"Every single time it seems to top itself," Bartlett said. "It's a lot of dedication. It's a commitment to not just academics and military training, but a little bit more than that. You're volunteering your down time, so you're spending Saturdays and Sundays, late weekdays and extra training, on drill precision, drill movements, military bearing."
At the end of the competition, trophies are awarded to winners of individual events, as well as the naming of an event champion, which this time was the 334th Training Wing. Commander, Lt. Col. Billy Wilson says the teamwork shown in the drill downs is in line with the values taught at Keesler.
"It's one of the things that we stress here at Keesler Air Force Base, being a good wing man, taking care of your wing man," said Wilson. "Making sure that everyone is accountable."
While the event is about training and military bearing, it's also a point of pride for these squadrons.
"It's a huge deal," said Bartlett. "All of the airmen here, much like the universities like to showcase their teams., the airmen here, they take pride in their squadrons, so if they're in the dining facility and they get the opportunity to say, hey we beat you, they're going to take that opportunity."
There are four drill downs held throughout the year, and then a drill team of the year is named. That team receives a streamer to place on its guidon for the following calendar year.