VALDOSTA -- More than 500 South Georgia and North Florida Air Force Junior ROTC cadets will compete Saturday at Lowndes High School in a precision drill event.
Ten high schools will participate in the event, and the Lowndes High School Air Force Junior ROTC will work together in seven events including drills, color guard and group exhibitions.
Master Sgt. Bruce Minnick, Lowndes ROTC instructor, said events will test cadet aptitude in creativity and leadership.
"This puts leadership skills into play, lets kids show teamwork, like in football and baseball, because if one person makes a mistake, it affects the whole team," Minnick said.
Unlike other sporting events, there's no "fourth quarter" to win back the game -- if a cadet messes up a routine, that's the end.
Drills can prepare cadets for military service, where a second can make the difference between life and death.
Minnick said the intensity prepares cadets for future relationships with bosses and coworkers.
The drills help make leaders stronger and those following more obedient to authorities.
Retired Lt. Col. Dean F. Failor, senior instructor for Lowndes ROTC, said the drills instill leadership values that cadets will take into their future endeavors.
"The event promotes leadership skills in dealing with different personalities and getting everyone to work together," Failor said.
Forty volunteers from Moody Air Force Base will judge the events.
The three top drill cadets from each school will compete in an individual drill competition, where instructors call commands and the person making the least mistakes wins.
Another event, the group exhibition, gives teams the chance to create new routines and exhibit uniqueness.
Trophies will be awarded for the overall top schools in various categories.
Failor said the Lowndes ROTC cadets trained since the beginning of the school year in various routines, practicing several days a week.
The day's events begin at 9 a.m. at Martin Stadium and will end with the awards ceremony at 3 p.m. Admission is free, and food will be available for purchase at the concession stand.
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