The crowd shouted "hoo-ah!" as 15 high school drill teams successfully executed drill maneuvers at Indian Land High School on a gusty Saturday.
Indian Land's drill team took home a second-place award for Fancy Squad and a third place award for Squad Arms at the school's fifth annual drill meet. The teams competed not only against each other Saturday, March 8, but against winds that reached 60 mph at times.
Airport High, from Columbia, was the overall winner. West Charlotte High and Anson High won second and third place, respectively.
There are two basic types of drill, said Col. Sam Wood, ROTC instructor at Indian Land High. Individual squad, he explained, is a straightforward type of drill that's right out of the U.S. Army manual.
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Fancy Squad, Indian Land's team's most successful event, is more creative, Wood said.
"It's more like a step team," Wood said. "They create their drill. The crowds really like the fancy."
The S.C. National Guard sponsored the drill meet. The Guard provided lunch and the trophies for award winners.
Indian Land High's drill team is an extracurricular activity for ROTC students, Wood said. It teaches the students self-discipline and leadership.
The drill team is preparing for a trip to the national competition in Daytona in May. The students have raised money by working concessions at Carolina Panthers games, but they are still looking for a business sponsor to help them with expenses, Wood said.
Less than 3 percent of ROTC students will go on to a career in the military, Wood said, but getting students into the military isn't ROTC's goal, he said. The goal is to make them better citizens.
Looking around at the students represented Saturday, Wood said his mission is accomplished.
"I didn't see any thugs at our drill meet," Wood said. "We had some very polite, well-disciplined, caring students."