The Michigan City High School (MCHS) Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (MCJROTC) drill team earned awards at the very competitive Pike High School military drill meet in Indianapolis on Saturday, February 22, 2014. The MCHS cadets earned first place in the personnel inspection category and fourth place in armed platoon out of 16 schools.
Michigan City was the only Marine school besides Portage to compete. Most of the schools were Navy JROTC programs, as this meet is used by the Navy JROTC to prepare them for the Navy National Drill Competition in Daytona Beach, FL., and therefore it attracts many of the top Navy teams from throughout the Midwest.
“Due to a variety of circumstances, we were missing some of our experienced cadets in key positions,” said Senior Marine Instructor Major Tom McGrath. “I am proud of the way some of our younger cadets stepped-up and took their place.”
Marine Instructor Master Sergeant Jeff Benak stated that earning first place in the personnel inspection event was particularly gratifying. “Our cadets take great pride in wearing their uniform and having command of general military subjects, as knowledge is part of the inspection. To have taken first place ahead of many good Navy schools, being inspected by active Navy petty officers, is something for our cadets to be a great source of pride.”
Cadet Captain Paul Tobalt, the cadet commanding officer, commanded both award-winning units. “Despite us losing some of our ‘starters,’ our cadets, to include the younger ones, really came through. This shows how the JROTC can mold leaders by the older cadets helping develop the younger cadets.” Tobalt has been accepted to Purdue University where he hopes to attend on an ROTC scholarship, worth $150,000.00 over 4 years. He should receive the result of his scholarship application in April.
The final drill meet for MCHS will be March 22nd at Romeoville, IL. The cadets will also march in the Michigan City St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 8th, stand their annual inspection on March 12th, and provide support for the Indiana High School Athletic Association Boys Basketball Regional Tournament held at the MCHS Gym on March 15th.