History in the making

Pleasanton Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) Zodiac Drill Teams and Color Guards set a goal this year to make it to the 5th Brigade Drill Championships. Mission accomplished!

On Saturday, February 4, the 5th Brigade Drill Championship was held at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in downtown San Antonio. Thirty-five of the top high school drill teams from eight states, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming, that comprise 5th Brigade competed in Armed and Unarmed Categories.

The Titian Guard, commanded by Cadet Command Sergeant Major Gabriel Valdez, placed 5th in the Demilitarized Color Guard category, even though they were a brand new team this year.

First Sergeant (Retired) Gerald T. Dove said he is impressed with the Corps of Cadets team success because they are a young program.

“Our program is five years old this school year and The Titian Guard is only two years old,” 1SG Dove said. “Today was an amazing day for our program. Not only did we achieve our goal, we surpassed it! It was an amazing accomplishment to place fifth at the Brigade Championship meet ahead of 15 other schools in the Armed Demilitarized Color Guard Category. Last year, I pushed our Drill Teams and Color Guards to want and expect more and this year they have really hit the mark, but none of this could be done without the support of the family members who came to support their cadets,” said Dove.”

Cadet First Sergeant Shaylee Steed (Texas Flag) said, “Just to be at 5th Brigade is an honor itself, however placing is a whole different story. I’m so proud of everyone and I know this is only the beginning.”

Earning a spot in the top five was no easy task. The team had their uniforms inspected with extreme scrutiny. They were questioned on their knowledge of the JROTC curriculum by Army North Noncommissioned Officers stationed at Joint Base San Antonio Fort Sam Houston. They had to memorize a 46 command marching sequence and perform a modified routine involving the complex marching sequence.

Cadet Captain Morgan Olivarri said, “It was a once in a life time experience that he will never forget!”

“It was nerve racking until we were actually on the drill pad,” said Cadet Staff Sergeant Kyle Spiers (Left Guard). “Once we stepped foot on the drill pad it felt just like any other practice.”

“I am so very proud of our Color Guard!” said Lieutenant Colonel Robert Blake. “In its first year of competition, we placed 5th in the Brigade Championships for over 200 JROTC’s, beating out top schools like national champion dynasty winner Douglas MacArthur! What an accomplishment.”

The Titian Color Guard and Zodiac Drill Team’s success is a direct reflection of the hard work and dedication of the cadets, who have for several months endured hours of rigorous training, before, during, and after school, as well as the scrutiny and pressure of First Sergeant Dove, who always says never let anyone tell you that You can’t do something!—Congratulations Zodiac on a job well done!

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