Tiger Drill Team Brings Home National Trophies
It wasn’t easy, but the 40 members of the Ozark JROTC Battalion Drill Team agree it was worth it. The team placed in the top 10 in all of their events at the U.S. Army Drill National Competition March 30 in Richmond, Virginia, bringing home a second-place overall finish for Armed and a ninth-place overall finish for Unarmed.
This year began with 1,709 Army JROTCs preparing for the national competition, but only 82 schools advanced. The Ozark Drill Team, which is comprised of students in ninth through 12th grades, placed as follows:
- Armed Exhibition, led by Cadet Andrew Buckmaster – Third place
- Armed Regulation, led by Cadet Trey Vaught – First place
- Armed Color Guard, led by Cadet Trey Vaught – Third place
- Unarmed Regulation, led by Cadet Jade Taylor – Fourth place
- Unarmed Exhibition, led by Cadet Kaylee Bouldin – Fifth place
“The Unarmed team is comprised with mostly first-year drill team members, many of which are in their first year in the program at the Junior High,” said Chief Jason Allen, who leads the Ozark Drill Team. “This is an amazing accomplishment for such a young team.”
Ozark JROTC instructor Maj. Danny Cazier said having two teams perform so well at a national competition is a rare accomplishment.
“For the national competition, most schools focus their efforts on one team or the other; they don't expect to do well with both teams. So, no other school had a combined performance comparable to Ozark's,” Cazier said. “Additionally, there are precious few schools that compete at this level that use the same coach for both the armed and unarmed team. Chief Allen coaches both drill teams, splitting his time between them. This weekend's performance was a testament not just to the hard work both teams have put in but also to the caliber of their coach.”
During the trip, students also got to take in the sights, touring the east wing of the White House and visiting the monuments including the Lincoln Memorial. They also took a guided tour of Arlington National Cemetery, which included watching the famous changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
“The Tiger Battalion Drill Team represented the community, school and battalion with honor and distinction,” Allen said. “The 40 members of the Ozark Drill Team have put in many long hours of practice and are to be commended for their dedication and determination to compete against other outstanding JROTC programs from all military services.”