Back to Schools

Clover Park Air Force JROTC wins national championship

VFW Post 91, 446th AW makes trip possible

The winning cadets from Clover Park High’s Air Force JROTC receive their medals from the VFW Commander in Chief Richard DeNoyer and the National President Gwen Rankin. /Courtesy photo

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

In a summer marked with athletes, medals and matches, it's nice to know that local students are following suit. Last week, Clover Park High School's own Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps drill teams made a lasting impression when they swept multiple events at a national competition.

Although the Clover Park JROTC teams typically compete in four to five competitions a year, this was their first trip to the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Championship Drill Meet. Moreover, this was the first time that any JROTC unit from the state of Washington had ever competed at the 113-year old convention, July 21 to 25 in Reno, Nev.  This year's inclusion can be credited to Tacoma's VFW Post 91, which sponsored the unit and kick-started fundraising with $1,000.

The Clover Park cadets and chaperones were even treated to transportation in perfect military style, thanks to McChord Field's 446th Airlift Wing, which provided a C-17, as well as flight crews from the 313th and 728th Airlift Squadrons, respectively, for their flights to and from Nevada.

They also spent some time lodging at Camp Stead, getting to sleep in open bay barracks and dining in the mess hall before moving on to the Circus Circus Hotel downtown.

"It was definitely nerve wracking," said Becky Foster, 18, who served as the cadet commander. "There were less people than we expected to be watching us, which did take some of the pressure off."

Foster led the unarmed drill team to first place; fellow cadet Jun Kim led the armed drill team to a first place as well. Cadets Ben Huntley and Matt Nadeau also took first place in the duals competition, and Huntley went on to garner another first-place finish in the singles competition with a record score of 94.6 percent.

"During our regular season we practice these events over and over, but I am never sure how it will go in the actual competition," said Lt. Col. Gary Roberts, Clover Park's Senior Aerospace Science instructor. "Yet from the moment we got there, they were on top of it. I was very pleased and proud."

And, while the trophies will be treasured, monetary prizes were also awarded. According to Roberts, those funds will help get the fundraising started for next year, when the competition will be held in Louisville, Ky.

Amidst the competitive events, the attendees also toured Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters at the Nevada National Guard's Helicopter Base and, most notably, got to listen to President Barack Obama deliver a speech. A few of the cadets even got the thrill of shaking the Commander in Chief's hand.

"We were just so fortunate to get to do this, especially the seniors," said Foster, who plans to attend the University of Washington in Seattle this fall and continue on with her ROTC career. "We all just kept saying how lucky we were to be there. It was a great experience."

Comments for "Clover Park Air Force JROTC wins national championship"

Comments for this article are currently closed.