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Marysville, Arlington JROTC units compete in drill and rifle | SLIDESHOW
ARLINGTON — Arlington High School hosted an assemblage of precision talent on Saturday, Feb. 25, as the Arlington Air Force and Marysville Navy Junior ROTC units joined nearly a dozen JROTC units from throughout the region in that day’s drill and rifle competition.
The JROTC units were measured up in categories including color guard, unarmed and armed drill teams, individual and dual armed exhibition drills, physical fitness exams for male and female cadets, and air rifle marksmanship for teams and individuals.
Marysville ranked 12th in team air rifle marksmanship and third among unarmed drill teams, while Arlington ranked sixth in the latter. Marysville and Arlington ranked seventh and eighth, respectively, among armed drill teams. Arlington ranked third for Color Guard 1 and fifth for Color Guard 2, while Marysville ranked eighth for Color Guard 1 and sixth for Color Guard 2. Arlington’s physical fitness teams ranked third and fourth, while Marysville’s ranked sixth. Marysville’s Ray Vital ranked second in the individual armed exhibition drill, while Marysville and Arlington ranked third and fourth, respectively, in the dual armed exhibition drill.
Cadet Lt. Cmdr. Terryl Daguison, unit commander of the Marysville Navy JROTC and commander of its unarmed drill team, attributed the lion’s share of his self-assuredness that day to the preparation and performance levels of his teammates.
“Once you’re confident that your team is ready, your stress drains down,” said Daguison, a four-year senior in the program. “I’m very proud to know they’ll keep going strong after I’ve gone, but I wish I could spend another year with them. They’ve been like a second family to me, and I’ll miss seeing them grow up.”
Daguison’s father is an enlisted sailor who’s stationed on board USS Ford, which is home-ported at Naval Station Everett but was deployed that day, which meant that the elder Daguison had to miss out on his son’s performance.
“I’m proud of the sacrifices my father has made in serving his country,” said Daguison, who plans to join the Navy and become either an aeronautical or a nuclear engineer. “It’s all about the team. That’s what makes us a success.”
Cadet Lt. j.g. Jasmine Iglesias, the 2nd squad leader for the Marysville Navy JROTC, is a fellow four-year senior in the program, but unlike Daguison, she sees her time in uniform as preparing her for a civilian career.
“My older sister was part of this, and I wanted to learn more about leadership,” said Iglesias, who plans to become an accountant, and echoed Daguison’s description of the unit as a another family. “Terryl has become like an older brother to me, and all the other cadets call me ‘Mom.’”
While the day’s exercises proved demanding, as she and her fellow cadets had to wake up early and make sure they were squared away for inspection by adult military members and the general public, Iglesias also sees the program’s challenges as rewarding to her long-term growth.
“You develop commitment and integrity, and you learn to be true to yourself,” Iglesias said. “That’s why other people will trust you.”
Cadet Airman 1st Class Morgan Bacon only just joined the Arlington Air Force JROTC unit as a senior, but she fell in love with it so fast that she’s stayed with her teammates even after her family moved out of town in the middle of the 2011-12 school year.
“I’ve bonded with my teammates and I wanted to graduate with my friends,” said Bacon, who agreed with Iglesias that JROTC instills leadership skills and integrity in cadets, and repeated the theme of finding a sense extended family among her peers in the program.
Bacon has two brothers in the Navy and one in the Army, but what finally got her to join JROTC was seeing them perform in drill and rifle competitions such as the one on Feb. 25. Although she admitted that the uniform inspections and question-and-answer sessions in ranks are demanding, she’s found it satisfying to perform well in areas that she and her fellow cadets devote a couple of hours to just about every day.
“You get really good life skills out of it,” Bacon said of JROTC. “I only wish I’d joined sooner.”
Although Colton McCoy has been part of the Arlington Air Force JROTC for all four years of high school, he’s done some commuting of his own for the program, since he was going to school in Lake Stevens when he first heard about the unit.
“It’s been 40 miles a day, but I’ve fallen in love with this school,” said McCoy, who also heaped praise on his JROTC instructors. “I love the structure, but also the diversity of the program. You get two science classes, two leadership classes and a PT class each week. That’s so unique.”
McCoy has already seen scholarship opportunities open up because of his time in JROTC, and along with plans to attend the University of Wyoming, he also aims to become a combat or a search-and-rescue pilot in the Air Force. Either way, he looks forward to keeping the sense of camaraderie he’s developed with his teammates in school.
“The pace is crazy when you’re on the drill floor and you have to remember every single step, but it’s so rewarding when we pull together as a team,” McCoy said.