Navy and Marine Corps officers served as judges for the annual Navy Junior ROTC Drill Meet at Flour Bluff High School in Corpus Christi, Oct. 19.
The officers, mostly student naval aviators assigned to Training Air Wing (TW) 4 and Marine Aviation Training Support Group 22 at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, volunteered to participate in the event to help inspire students and answer questions about active-duty military life.
Flour Buff High School is part of NJROTC Area 10, which includes more than 61 different high schools from across the Lone Star State. However, the event was open to JROTC units across all military branches and 22 units competed.
“The Drill Meet in Corpus Christi is one with a long tradition,” said retired Cmdr. Bill Hughen, the senior naval science instructor at Flour Bluff High School. “We host some of the best teams in Texas, which are probably the best teams in the country.”
Hughen has taught at various NJROTC units in the Corpus Christi area. Through his work with his students, Hughen said he hopes to instill a greater sense of citizenship and service to future generations of Americans.
For the cadets, this annual competition is the culmination of many hours of hard work and practice. Cadets competed in physical fitness, armed and unarmed drill, military inspections, and general Navy knowledge. Top performing schools such as Nimitz High School in Houston, East View High School in Georgetown, and Los Fresnos High School met qualification requirements during the event for the state-level competition, which could lead them to the national championship.
Civilian volunteers throughout the community, such as Ruben Candelario Medel, also helped coordinate the event. Medel emphasized the importance of the JROTC program, giving back to the community, and providing an opportunity for children to embrace the spirit of volunteerism and service to country.
“The impact of having active duty personnel out here is huge,” said Medel. “It’s really important that they [the students] see folks coming together in the community … Having them out here gives legitimacy to what it is they’re doing. It means the world to these students.”
Ensign Joseph Kim, assigned to TW-4, served as one of the judges.
“It’s important to recognize the responsibility of teaching the next generation of leaders,” Kim said. “It’s programs like JROTC that will help shape young Americans to be disciplined, responsible citizens. Some may even feel the call to serve our nation and join the military.”
TW-4 is one of five training air wings across Chief of Naval Air Training. Its instructors have trained the world’s premier military pilots since 1972. Located at NAS Corpus Christi, TW-4 includes four squadrons – two primary flight training squadrons and two fixed-wing, multi-engine aircraft intermediate/advanced flight training squadrons.
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