High School students from 15 schools across Oklahoma and Texas made their way to the horned frog homeland to compete in the JROTC drill meet Saturday.
According to Maj. Kenneth Edwards, assistant professor of aerospace studies and director of operations for the TCU Air Force ROTC, the TCU Air Force ROTC program has wanted to host an on-campus JROTC drill meet for several years.
Edwards said senior Cadet Gabi Nesburg has been hoping to do the on-campus drill meet during her past four years at TCU.
Edwards said Nesburg and other ROTC cadets have been working on organizing the meet since the fall.
“It’s kind of a project I took under my wing. I love drill, and I’m a big part of ROTC,” said Gabbi Nesburg, a senior political science major and cadet.
Nesburg said JROTC instructors have been asking for a meet at TCU.
“JROTC funding is not great right now, and so they don’t have a lot of money to travel, and our university happens to be centrally located in the North Texas area,” she said.
Lt. Col. Gene Capone, professor of aerospace studies, and commander for TCU Air Force said the event was about giving cadets the opportunity to run a major event and go through the planning process.
“We’re kind of walking beside them, but we’re not walking in their shoes. We let them do the walking. We let them make the mistakes,” Capone said. “But then we go ‘wait, watch out for that.’”
Nesburg and a team of other cadets worked to organize and plan the meet.
“It was a very long process of trying to figure out logistically the best way to run the meet,” Nesburg said. “It worked out well in the end.”
According to Nesburg, the teams had to compete in the Inspection, Unarmed Regulation, Male or Female Color Guard, and Male or Female PT in order to qualify for the trophy.
Teams could also compete in the additional events, such as Sabre, Unarmed Exhibition, Armed Exhibition and 1st Year Unarmed Regulation to win more points for their overall score.
Events that were “Unarmed” entailed the group completing the event without a weapon, while events like Sabre and Armed Exhibition would allow competitors to use a sword or gun while executing their drill performance.
The events were held in several places around campus, including the gyms in the University Recreation Center, the indoor football practice field and Lot 2, the uphill field by the TCU Football stadium.
According to Edwards, the Air Force ROTC is tentatively scheduling a similar drill meet in November.
Edwards said the future meets would be held in the fall because it works best with the high school team’s schedules.
Nesburg will be graduating this spring, but the cadets who assisted her in planning will continue to help the meet’s organizers with the upcoming drill meets, Edwards said.
Cadet Lauren Corbet, sophomore math major, said they chose younger cadets to help with the event in order to insure people will still be here next year who can help next year’s planners so they don’t have to start from scratch.
Edwards said, the meet was not only a chance for nearby JROTC teams to compete, but a chance to experience and check out the school.
“This is our first year at TCU since I’ve been an instructor. The facilities are really nice,” said retired Lt. Col. David Hansen, Flower Mound High School teacher and senior aerospace science instructor. “It’s good for our cadets to be able to see where they might be wanting to go after high school.”
Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Monday, March 31 at 11:16 a.m.