Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Mary Angela Valdez
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — Competitive energy was insulated by the cloudy skies above, here, as 17 high schools rallied their team pride at a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps competition.
Sergeant Audie Murphy clubs from 25th Infantry Division and Tripler Army Medical Center unified their vigilant judging eyes to evaluate the competition for precision and unison in the art of drill and ceremony.
Novice, sonic-like JROTC eardrums nervously tried hard not to anticipate preparatory commands. But all flaws were noted, scored and tallied by SAMC.
“Left, face; about, face; present, arms,” echoed various command-toned JROTC voices, loudly.
The atmosphere resurrected distant memories from basic training for most SAMC judges as they shared stories during their break time.
“As a volunteer judge for SAMC, I think it was really impressive to see the drill teams from different branches competitively motivated to be No. 1. Their motivation was certainly contagious,” Sgt. Rhobbie Palero, executive administrator for the chief of staff, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, stated, as she relaxed her tired feet.
Proud parents attentively followed each beat of their sons’ and daughters’ 30-inch, rhythmic marching steps. They attentively watched commitments being made on the parade field.
One proud parent, in particular, stood out from the rest. Retired Col. Douglas Jackson, senior Army JROTC instructor, Kahuku High School, was not only present to lead his Kahuku team, but also to cheer on his 14-year-old daughter, Cadet Seamen Apprentice Denali Jackson from Kalaheo High School.
“It will be pretty awkward at home if they beat us,” Douglas said, jokingly.
“I feel pretty prepared. I think it’s cool he instructs for Kahuku. It makes me want to try harder,” Denali said, confidently.
Fast forward to the outcome, where awkwardness could have been presumed for the Douglas household, later that evening.
Daughter Denali’s Kalaheo team led the way in the competition with three first place trophies, one third place and the coveted overall trophy.
Sgt. 1st Class Keneidra L. Hargrove, SAMC president USAG-HI, said, “A true testament of selfless service (is) giving back to the community by encouraging our youth to strive forgreatness, whether it is joining the armed services or being a professional in the civilian sector.”