Lack Of Experience No Problem For Mililani’s JROTC Squad

Trojan cadets with trophy (from left) are Cpl. Martiza Segovia, First Lt. Sarah Owen, Pvt. Breahna Robinson, First Lt. Andrea Thayne, First Lt. Madeline Lee and Cpl. Dejarae Torres. Photo from Tim Schiller.

While the Mililani Trojans Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) team is new to the scene (activated just five months ago), it made a lasting impression at the Jan. 26 West Point Drill Meet at Kaimuki High School.

More than 22 area high school JROTC units performed precise military drill routines, including color guard, armed, unarmed drill and exhibition drill at the meet.

Although a young team, led by Cadet First Lt. Andrea Thayne, Battalion S-3, Mililani took third place in the unarmed exhibition drill and fifth place in color guard.

“The exhibition is something we’ve never done before,” explained Lt. Col. (Ret.) Tim Schiller, Mililani JROTC senior Army instructor. “And they were very creative.

“The exhibition was totally up to the cadets, and the instructors didn’t even know about it until the day of the event.”

Schiller noted that the cadets worked tirelessly over the course of three weeks, practicing two to three hours a day about four times a week.

Each routine lasts only about three minutes, but in that time span, the cadets are under constant pressure.

“The kids were stressed out because there’s a lot to the routines,” Schiller explained. “The judges are

looking to make sure the cadets are doing the sequences right, if they make any mistakes, if their uniforms are clean – there’s a whole multitude of things they look at.”

Cadets were evaluated by the Kings Guard and soldiers from the Audie Murphy Club.

In order to stay motivated and confident, each cadet looked to their commander, who gave up to 50 commands in the tight, coned-off area.

Mililani’s program is comprised of about 140 cadets, and 35 competed in the West Point Drill Meet.

“We were just so proud of them because we had never done this,” Schiller said. “It just makes us feel so proud that they walked away (with a victory).”