AFJROTC Drill Teams ‘bring it’ at 2023 Open Drill Nationals

  • Published
  • By Christian P. Hodge, HQ Air Force JROTC Public Affairs

Cadets from across the nation and as far away as Germany descended upon the Wright University Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio, March 18 for the 2023 Air Force Junior ROTC Open Drill Nationals.

The capstone event, attended by cadets, instructors and often their respective families, encapsulated a year or more of perseverance, practice and precision to recognize the best armed and unarmed drill teams across the AFJROTC enterprise.

Congratulations to the Beavercreek High School B-1 Bombers for taking the top trophy in the overall Armed Division and the West Aurora Highschool Thunder Cloud for winning the overall Unarmed Division.

Unit OH-20182 Beavercreek High School hails from Beavercreek, Ohio, and IL-20141 West Aurora High School is from Aurora, IL. For a complete list of winners and scores, go to

“I could not be more proud of these cadets and the instructors and parents who put in the work and provided the support needed to get these cadets here today,” said R. Wayne Barron, Headquarters AFROTC Leadership Development Program Manager. “Drill teaches leadership, and leadership is the cornerstone of many facets of life.”

Barron, a retired Chief Master Sgt. and inductee into Military Drill Hall of Fame – Class of 2022 for his work in the military drill universe, has been witness to life-changing effects the art of military drill can have on young people.

“I have personally seen drill take the most shy and quiet cadets and transform them into the centerpiece of their unit’s drill team, and with a ‘command voice’ that would make other drill teams envious,” he said. No other leadership development activity better teaches the concept of separate individuals all coming together for one common goal,”

The Open Drill Nationals honor the dedication and selflessness required of all drill programs in the AFJROTC enterprise while building esprit de corps among the differing teams and spectators. The event also recognizes and rewards the stellar drill teams and their high school units that perform under pressure and prove they are the best units to represent the AFJROTC at the joint-Service 2023 National High School Drill Team Championships, or The Nationals, in May in Daytona.

“From my perspective, from having done this for over 40 years, drill is the most difficult co-curricular to be successful at. Drill is a process that takes and incredible amount of time to do it effectively, to say nothing of doing it exceptionally,” said Samantha Ste.Claire, Chief Operating Officer, Sports Network International. The company sets up and executes the annual event, and does so for all the services’ national JROTC drill events.

“Every drill team starts at the beginning of the school year and it takes virtually the entire school year to train them and to get them to evolve through the process and ready them ready for competition,” she said. “That is why the vast majority of competitions are in the second, or Spring semester, and which is why our major competition is in May, so as to maximize the time they have to prepare.”

The AFJROTC Open Drill Nationals continue to provide a valuable experience for all AFJROTC cadets looking to be a part of a one-of-a-kind, Air Force-only JROTC drill competition wrapped in a first-class setting, according to Sports Network International’s website.