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ROTC Competition marches into NMMI

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An Odessa High School Army Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) drill team competes Saturday morning in the 32nd Annual Army Jr. ROTC Invitational Meet hosted by the New Mexico Military Institute. The team is led by Nathan Miller, at right, and directed by Sgt. 1st Class Duane Cobb (not shown). (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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The sounds of barked orders, feet marching and gun butts hitting the ground filled the New Mexico Military Institute campus this weekend as 12 teams involving about 350 high school and junior college students competed in the 32nd Annual Army Junior ROTC Invitational Drill Meet.

NMMI teams were among the competitors from New Mexico and Texas. The meet occurred at various campus locations starting Friday and continuing on Saturday.

Teams affiliated with all branches of the military participated in air rifle, color guard, regulation drill, exhibition drill and fitness competitions judged by ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) and NMMI instructors and student leaders. As part of drill competitions, teams were inspected and asked questions about the military, ROTC, leadership, drill and health and first aid.

“This is one of the oldest drill meets of its kind,” said Lt. Col. Michael O’Neil, senior Army instructor with the Institute and the meet coordinator. He added that it has been hosted by NMMI throughout its history.

O’Neil said that the competition is intended to show the hard work, discipline and skills that students have put into their efforts, students he likened to trained athletes. He also said it indicates the level of support and instruction offered by various schools.

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Awards for top teams were due to be presented Saturday evening, with trophies going to those placing in the top three in the various categories and two overall winning teams.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.