Who is better to grade drill and ceremony than those who see the most of it -- drill sergeants?

That is what members of the Lower Richland Junior ROTC program said Dec. 9 as 16 drill sergeants and drill sergeant leaders judged the 2017 Richland School District One Drill and Rifle Competition.

The drill sergeants and DSLs judged each event in the meet fairly and ensuring each event in the meet is done to regulation standard.

The competition would be different if the Soldiers weren't assisting in the event, event officials said.
"The meet could still go on, but it would be altered a lot," if the Soldiers weren't present, said retired Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Vaulx said. The competition would miss the Soldiers' knowledge of "what right looks like and their attention to detail."

Them being here adds a different dynamic to the meet because of their "trained eye to see what right looks like," he added.

"It gives you a different look from a different point of view," said retired Master Sgt. Ronald Johnson, Army instructor at Lower Richland High School. "It keeps the competition from being skewed because these guys have no affiliation with the schools.'

The drill sergeants influence the cadets by letting them "know what the Army looks like other than what they see on TV. This is a little exposure to them.

The Soldiers judging the event said it was important for them to be there.

"We are subject matter experts and this is something we do on a daily basis," said Sgt. 1st Class Neal Lang, a senior drill sergeant leader at the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy on post. "It is important to give to the community" helping them develop discipline within themselves.

Vaulx, a nine-year JROTC instructor at Lower Richland said having the Soldiers there can help the cadets decide what they want to do later in life.

Cadets "get to see if they have any aspirations of joining the military and be able to see first-hand what professional Soldiers look like," Vaulx said. "It helps them see those Soldiers who do things the right way."