Photo by Matthew Bourgeois
During the 2018-2019 school year, the Gulf Breeze Air Force Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (AFJROTC) climbed its way to near the top of the country’s AFJROTC drill teams while being mentored by Master Sergeant Garcia, a retired NCO in the United States Air Force.
This year, the goal is to be national champions, the best of the best, and with the vision of veteran cadet officers in charge, that goal is in sight. Under the instruction of Lt. Col. Nelson and Msgt. Garcia, cadets of the Armed/Unarmed Basic and Exhibition teams as well as a competitive Color Guard team are drilling every Monday, Thursday and Friday mornings to iron out wrinkles and perfect their form.
On May 1, 2020, the top upperclassmen with the strictest discipline and skill on the drill teams will perform in Daytona Beach FL, along with dozens of other schools to claim the title of the best in the country.
Over the past years, the Dolphins have a spotty history with National Drilling. Two years ago, the Dolphins reached the national level after dominating the local drill season, and that was a new type of challenge unto itself. Unfortunately, that streak was not continued.
Due to a lack of time and resources, they could not participate in this previous year’s competition.
This year however, under the direction of Cadet Lt. Logan Baker, Cadet CMSgt. Tyler Bellnoski to name a few dedicated cadets and the goal is in sight.
“I’m really making sure that all of our moves are on point and perfected,” says Baker, “and I’m really looking forward to teaching new cadets how to spin.” With movements such as the Queen Anne, Fire Knives and Double Spins, it is easy to see why the Exhibition team has an astounding compilation of drill movements.
When asked how the underclassmen are faring, four year veteran cadet, Victoria Jennings commented, “We have a lot of new cadets learning fast, and that is what is going to move us up to the top.”
Though they may not be competing at the national level, freshmen, sophomores, and first year cadets will be drilling in statewide meets during the season, and they will eventually lead their own classes to the heights of their predecessors.
With a motto of “no excuses,” an attitude of determination and a team of leaders with drive to be the best, victory can’t be far from reality and we look forward to welcoming an AFJROTC National Drill Competition Champions trophy in the already extensive awards display for the GBHS JROTC drill teams.