NEW ORLEANS -- Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) midshipmen and officer candidates from all over the United States made the trip to Tulane University to participate in the 42th annual Mardi Gras Drill Meet, Feb. 8. In all, 19 units from all branches of the armed services, were represented at the meet, which is hosted by the Tulane NROTC unit and is one of the largest drill meets in the country.
"I am impressed with the dedication and attention to detail of all of the midshipmen, candidates and cadets," said Capt. Anthony Chatham, Tulane University NROTC commanding officer. "Everyone is highly motivated and competitive. This is an outstanding drill meet."
Midshipman 3rd Class LaMicha Jackson, officer-in-charge (OIC) of the drill meet, said the event was a great opportunity to challenge herself. "The drill meet has gone better than planned," said Jackson, a sophomore at Loyola. "With the help of these great midshipmen, everything has gone smoothly." Each participating drill team consisted of three squads that form a platoon. The platoon, led by a midshipman, performed basic drill movements and was inspected by a Marine Drill Instructor. A single squad, led by the squad leader, was later evaluated as the midshipmen performed basic drill movements.
In the exhibition events, the drill platoons have more free movement and the ability to twirl and toss rifles. Midshipman 3rd Class John Fridley, a sophomore from the University of Illinois unit, is no stranger to big drill events, being a Marine option who excels at drill.
"This is one of the bigger drill meets that we have been to in the last two years," said Fridley. "This meet has been a lot of fun and has run very smoothly. I look forward to coming back next year." The Texas A&M University Fish Drill Team finished first overall at the competition and placed in the top three of four out of five judged events. The Norwich University Corps of Cadets took home the overall second-place trophy and placed first in one event. The University of South Carolina midshipmen finished third overall.
The NROTC program, overseen by Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., was established to develop midshipmen mentally, morally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, and loyalty, and with the core values of honor, courage and commitment in order to commission college graduates as Naval officers who possess a basic professional background, are motivated toward careers in the Naval service, and have a potential for future development in mind and character so as to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.