NJROTC prepares for February drill meets

Gabby Messina, Staff Writer

The cadets march in, perfectly in sync. The riffles fly, soaring high up into the air. But, the bleachers sit empty, deprived of the patronage of Liberty students.

Although many students attend sports events and drama productions, ROTC competitions are not as commonly frequented. Yet, according to senior Michael LeBlanc, both ROTC drill meets and plays take a very similar type of preparation.

“It’s like performing arts. When I first commanded my platoon, Chief told me that I was like an actor performing, and I needed to maneuver the cadets in a certain way. There’s a showmanship involved,” LeBlanc said. “Memorizing a routine is just like learning your lines.”

Both theater and NJROTC take an extensive amount of preparation. NJROTC meets to practice armed and unarmed drill from 6-7 a.m. before school, with additional after-school practices for the color guard and riffle teams. Their dedication over the course of the year is a testament to the fact that hard work will pay off, LeBlanc believes.

The platoon is optimistic for the upcoming competitions, including one on Feb. 17 in Bremerton, and one at Liberty on Feb. 28, which students are highly encouraged to attend and show their support.

“We want people to come see these, because no one really knows what drill meets are,” LeBlanc said.