By: C/CPT Ismail Hossain
Last Saturday was a day everyone in the Stallion Battalion was waiting for. A day where they would showcase what they have practiced in the past few months. A day that they were all eager for.
Over the last few months, the Stallion Battalion Drill Team consisting of 33 Cadets has been practicing each day after school. Being meticulous about the small changes they had to make to perfect their performances. Practicing was not easy, as everyone has had their fair share of challenges. From getting used to the weight of the rifle to catching up to the fast-paced beat that their other teammates had.
But with the support of their instructors, and team commanders, the cadets were able to refine their moves and coordinate with one another in improving themselves. At the same time, many dedicated their free time to enhancing their skills in Drill.
On the day of the competition, all of their practice and hard work were put to the test. Graders from the U.S. Army Reserves traveled to each battalion to assess their drill team’s performance. On February 25th, the Stallion Battalion gathered at the Tinian Public Gymnasium to showcase their skills. As parents cheered on from the bleachers of the gym, the cadets prepared themselves for the event.
The event kicked off with an opening ceremony and a brief remark by Senior Army Instructor Captain Joseph Santos. Once that was over, the event commenced and started off with the Inspection section. Here, cadets must answer questions that a grader may pose to them while following a strict procedure in completing it. It was then followed by the Color Guard Section, where a team of 4 cadets is graded on their skills in marching and unveiling the colors in a ceremonious way. After that section came the Regulation portion, where the cadets are graded based on their marching skills in a compacted area. And finally, the Exhibition section, where cadets showcase a choreography of beats to impress the graders.
Once all sections were completed, the cadets formed up one last time to hear the closing remarks of their SAI along with one of the graders who wished them the best of luck in their results.
Many cadets made their fair share of mistakes throughout the competition and took that as an opportunity to improve themselves for the next competition. With the support of their teammates, everyone managed to pull through. C/CSM Erich Manalo stated, “everyone helped each other out, even for people that felt scared or uneasy, we all tried to comfort them. When we make a mistake, we try to embrace it instead of feeling obsessed over it.”
For some, this was their last competition before graduating in May this year. C/CPT Hazel Mabansag stated, “I feel very happy and confident. I’ve worked with some of these cadets before and I still feel we had that same bond as we did last year. And I am so proud of how we executed our performances, even though we didn’t have much time to practice.”
For others, this was their very first Drill Event. C/PFC Darence Palacios acknowledged that this is his first competition and hopes to showcase more effort and practice next school year.
The Armed Regulation Drill Team Commander, C/1SG Edward Tirona stated that he was grateful to have been given the opportunity to lead his team. “Ever since I joined drill freshman year, being part of the regulation team was something I’ve always wanted to do, and to come up and finally be able to command it myself was really good. I really enjoyed being able to hold myself as a leader for this team where I know I need to teach them and get them together.”
We then asked our Instructors for their remarks on the day’s event. 1SG Jose King (our Army Instructor) noted that the performance “shows how hard they worked and that there are some things that we didn’t want to see, but overall they did really well. I’m proud of them!”
Dr. Conrad Kiyoshi, a Science teacher here at Tinian High School, was a former Battalion and Drill Commander. He dedicated a lot of his free time to helping the cadets acquire the skills they have right now. When asked what he hopes for, the drill team he stated, “for next year’s performance, I look forward to both teams continuing their trends of improving, moving forward, and knowing what it takes to ultimately reach their goals of becoming a champion.”
Captain Joseph Santos, Senior Army Instructor of the Stallion Battalion commented, “They did very well, however, there were some hiccups along the way. But something I admire is that our cadets never quit. I told them that the only time we become failures is when we quit. And they never quit on us, so I am always proud of my students, no matter what the outcome is.”
Many took this day as a learning experience to know what to expect in the next drill competition. The cadets acknowledged the mistakes that were made during the event and will work on improving themselves next year. What really made this day memorable was the camaraderie of the team, along with the support from their parents and instructors. After practicing for months, the cadets did an outstanding job in their performance. “They put out their full effort and if their full effort was 100% the effort they put in today was probably 200%,” says C/1SG Edward Tirona. Our Stallion Battalion is grateful to have been able to compete in this year’s competition and we look forward to what this year has to offer.