Team Hurlburt co-hosts Air Force Junior ROTC drill competition

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Natalie Fiorilli
  • 1st Special Operations Wing

Dozens of Air Force Junior ROTC cadets gathered inside the Commando Hangar on Hurlburt Field, Florida, Feb. 10, 2024. The cadets hurried to inspect their service dress uniforms and prepare for the day of drill competitions ahead.

The event, which included six local high schools, marked the first-ever Junior ROTC competition hosted by Hurlburt Field.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to be able to have these teams on our yard,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Allison Black, 1st Special Operations Wing commander, as she offered opening remarks to begin the competition.

“We are able to answer our nation’s call because of the support our community provides us and we’re thrilled to have the chance to thank them and to give them a look at what our Air Commandos do.”

Along with the teams’ instructors and families, members of the Hurlburt Field community were also in attendance for the event.

Co-hosted by Hurlburt Field and Fort Walton Beach High School, the competition consisted of several drill components including armed and unarmed regulation, armed exhibition, color guard regulation and color guard specialty.

“We wanted to find a memorable place to host the competition and a place that will have an impact for the students,” said retired U.S. Air Force Captain Jason Sawyers, an instructor for

Fort Walton Beach High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC program. 

“We have such a great relationship with Hurlburt Field and thought that the exposure to the base and to the people on base would really add an extra element of professionalism and excitement for everyone.”

In addition to Fort Walton Beach High School, Choctawhatchee High School, Gulf Breeze High School, Niceville High School, Pensacola High School and Walton High School also participated in the event.

The competition is a chance to prepare for state-level events ahead, said Landyn Crandall, a senior competing for Gulf Breeze High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC team.

And for cadets like himself planning to join the military, being on base only inspired him more.

“I like being here and seeing all of the active duty personnel and all of the things inside of the hangar,” Crandall said. “Seeing what it’s like just pushes me to want to be part of it.”