DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. — Hard charging Soldiers who hit the ground running when they first arrive at a duty station is what every supervisor wants. That’s exactly what the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command got in Sgt. 1st Class Johnny Williams, Integrated Logistics Support Center’s Materiel Fielding and Training, and Sgt. 1st Class Lavonne Williams, ILSC’s Readiness Operations and Analysis Directorate.
Although they had only been at TACOM a few days, the couple were already preparing to take part in the Michigan Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Regional Drill and Ceremony competition in Detroit.
The couple who arrived at the Detroit Arsenal from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were recruited by 1st Sgt. Christopher Jackson, TACOM Headquarters and Headquarters Company, due to their prior experiences as drill sergeants.
“I believe the Williams were able to provide guidance [to the cadets] through their experience,” said Jackson. “I know they would coach these young cadets and help them refine some of their capabilities so they could do better in the next round of competition.”
The drill and ceremony part of the event is what really drew Johnny Williams to participate in the event.
“It’s been a few years since we were drill sergeants and drill and ceremony was a big part of our jobs,” said Johnny Williams. “I had participated in drill and ceremony myself, and I really enjoy it.”
Lavonne Williams was also drawn to the drill and ceremony part of the competition, since it’s been a few years since the two of them were drill sergeants at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
“When you go back to a normal duty station, you don’t get to see or be a part of drill and ceremony,” said Lavonne Williams. “That played a role in us wanting to be a part of this event.”
There were numerous parts that the cadets had to compete in for the Dec. 11 event that was held at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Michigan. More than 200 cadets from 19 area high schools competed in squad and platoon drills, color guard and rifle movement drills.
The Williams’ were specifically in charge of platoon drills with well over 40 different movements.
According to Johnny Williams, the pair also learned a few things since some of the students were Air Force cadets.
“Before we did our evaluations, we found out that certain movements such as parade rest are done differently in the Air Force,” said Johnny Williams. “So, it was good to know that before we evaluated the teams.”
Both Williams were glad to have an opportunity to step back into their drill sergeant roles to help potential future Soldiers and Airmen be better prepared.
“I fell like some of the cadets will end up going into the military and this will let them know what to expect,” said Johnny Williams. “Those who aren’t planning to go into the military will still benefit from these skills as it instills confidence and discipline in the cadets.”
“It was fun out there seeing the cadets compete,” said Lavonne Williams. “Seeing how hard they have worked, you can tell they really prepared for the competition and memorized all the commands they needed to execute.”
Genessee County High School received the highest marks in the competition and will move onto the state competition.