600 Cadets perform at NROTC meet

Forward March, platoon halt!”

Cadets repeated these sounds as they marched and demonstrated their military proficiency at the Area Seven Drill Meet Saturday.

FAMU’s National Routine Officer Training Corps program has sponsored the Area Seven Drill Meet for the past four years. The NROTC program consists of FAMU, FSU and TCC students. Students who complete the NROTC program will receive a commission as an officer in the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps.

Six hundred cadets and 17 high schools marched in formation around FAMU’s campus in a scurry to make it on time to the several events that each school participated in throughout the day.

“Being on time for each event is important. If a school is late for their event, points will be deducted and this will have an effect on their overall score,” said Mary White, 21, criminal justice student from Chicago and FAMU’s Naval ROTC battalion operations officer. “Points really make a difference at the end of the day.”

Events included color guard, push-ups and sit-ups, academics, personal inspection, 2000 yard and 2.5 mile relay, and different categories of drill routines.

Cadets who participated in the Area Seven Drill Meet took the competition seriously because the three schools with the highest overall score would earn the opportunity to compete in the National competition at the University of South Florida.

The top three overall performance winners were Flanagan High School, Wakulla High School and Bayside High School.

Tampa Bay Technical High School received the “Spirit Award” for best sportsmanship conduct.

“The drill meet was pretty good,” said Cadet Nelson, a student at Tampa Tech. “FAMU has been very timely and professional with the events. We hope to come back next year.”

The Area Seven Drill Meet is also held annually to encourage Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps students to mingle with other students and experience what takes place at a college level ROTC program.

“Today was a great day for NJROTC high school cadets of various schools to show FAMU’s NROTC instructors and midshipmen what they are made of,” said Commanding Officer, Capt. Anthony Jiles of FAMU’s Naval ROTC program.

“We have a bright future for the country because these students are not only smart, but very talented. I hope many of them, after today, will become FAMU students. They have a lot to offer.”

For more information on FAMU’s Naval ROTC program, please contact the recruiting officer Lt. Michael Meeks at (850) 599-8412 or visit the Web site at www.famunrotc.com.

Contact Richlyn Neal at rcneal00@yahoo.com.