There was nothing unusual about the drill competition that six post noncommissioned officers judged Dec. 13.
Except that it was held at the Hanover Juvenile Correctional Center.
No, the NCOs weren’t evaluating U.S. Army Soldiers.
Their presence was needed to provide a neutral source of judging for regional high school drill teams during the 12th Annual Hanover County Correctional Center Drill Meet.
The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps’ competition attracted 10 regional high schools to include the team from Hanover’s John H. Smyth High School.
First Sgt. Kevin M. Cummings, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command, was the noncommissioned officer in charge of the Fort Lee Soldiers. He said judging the competition at a correctional facility was a bit out of the routine for the Soldiers.
“Going behind the fence of the detention facility with the barbed wire and being frisked was a little different,” said Cummings, the only one of the NCOs who had previously judged a competition at Hanover. “But they really enjoyed it, and for those who’ve never did it before outside of the Army, it a way of giving back to the community.”
The Soldiers spent the entire day at the facility judging Army, Navy and Marine Corps JROTC teams on formation alignment, marching/stationary drill movements and rifle maneuvers, said Cummings.
“When it comes to JROTC, you can judge the schools on a scale of one-10,” he said. “You can see the schools that have devoted time and effort to practice and the schools that didn’t put in as much time as they needed from the execution of the movements to how they were dressed.”
The winner of the competition was not immediately declared.
“But they all did a good job,” said Cummings.
Cummings, a former drill sergeant, said events like the drill competition go a long way in fostering better relations with the local communities.
“As a part of TEAM LEE, we need to make people aware of how important it is to leave the confines of the gates and lend a hand where we can,” he said.
Hanover Juvenile Correctional Center is a state-run facility located about 10 miles northeast of Richmond. It is a long-term adolescent correctional facility with about 150 males who attend middle and high school.
JROTC drill competitions are held at various levels leading up to a national championship. They are sponsored by the various services.