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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • JROTC teams headed to national competition

  • Even though it's spring break, students in the JROTC program are still coming to Leavenworth High School this week to practice.

    These practices come a few weeks ahead of the U.S. Army Cadet Command JROTC Drill Championships in Louisville, Ky.
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  • Even though it's spring break, students in the JROTC program are still coming to Leavenworth High School this week to practice.
    These practices come a few weeks ahead of the U.S. Army Cadet Command JROTC Drill Championships in Louisville, Ky.
    Two Leavenworth teams will be competing at the event. They are the Yellow Legs of Calvary, which is an honor guard with weapons, and the Yellow Ribbons of Calvary, an honor guard without weapons.
    Retired Lt. Col. David Black, senior Army instructor for JROTC in Leavenworth, said the competition will feature the best teams from high school Army JROTC programs.
    "They're from all over the place," he said.
    He said about 40 Leavenworth students will be leaving April 5 for the competition. They'll take a eight-hour bus trip to Louisville. They'll compete April 6 and return home the following day.
    The Leavenworth teams had to be authorized by their higher Army headquarters, 3rd Brigade of the Cadet Command, to attend the drill championships.
    Black said the 3rd Brigade oversees 145 high school programs in several states. Only 12 teams from the 3rd Brigade's area of responsibility were allowed to go to the nationals.
    "In our case, we have two teams," Black said.
    He said Leavenworth High School is one of only two high schools overseen by the 3rd Brigade that will be sending two teams.
    "And that's a big honor," he said.
    The Leavenworth students will be competing in different types of drill events ― regulation, exhibition, inspection and color guard.
    Black said the teams already have competed at nine regional drill meets this school year, taking first place several times.
    He said the Leavenworth students have new uniforms and routines this year for their exhibition drills.
    The uniforms that were replaced were more than 20 years old.
    "They had lost their luster," he said. "They were just worn out."
    Students raised money to purchase the new uniforms. Students also developed the new routines.
    Black said the routines have been modernized.
    "The sport has evolved," he said. "It has gotten harder."
    Black said the Leavenworth teams also have plans to compete in the National High School Drill Team Championships in May in Daytona Beach, Fla. That event will feature JROTC teams of all services not just the Army.
    Black said he would love to say that Leavenworth is locked in for this event. But he doesn't know if budget cuts at the federal level will result in a loss of Army support.
    He said the 2011-2012 school year was the first year that Leavenworth teams went to both the Army national level competition and the nationals for all services.
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