BAMBERG, Germany -- Cadets from five Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps battalions matched wits at a competition on Warner Barracks Saturday a week before the European JROTC championship.

Cadets from Bamberg, Ansbach, Vicenza, Vilseck and Hohenfels JROTC programs competed in exhibition drill, regulation drill and color guard events for a chance to compete at the European championship in Ansbach Saturday.

"I think we have improved tremendously from the beginning," said cadet Rosaliz Carrillo, executive officer for 15th Army JROTC Battalion. "We have a lot of first year cadets and cadets who have never been in drill; myself included."

Bamberg placed second in both the regulation squad and platoon drill events and took first in one out of three exhibition drill events, as well as took first place in the color guard competition.

Bamberg cadets Nicholas Zurcher, William Gann and Alberto Lopez all placed second in the individual competition.

"It\'s impressive to see (the cadets) go out there and do what some Soldiers who are in the Army have difficulty doing," said Sgt. 1st Class Jay Janish, who helped judge the competition.

The cadets practice half the year to prepare for the drill season, said cadet Edmund Parowski, 9th JROTC battalion commander in Ansbach.

"It's a major part of our curriculum," Parowski said. "We have three meets a year. It helps us show off what we know. Personally, my favorite part is the exhibition. We throw the rifles around. It's challenging. I enjoy doing it. I've been doing it for four years."

Carrillo, who will be a senior next year, enjoys JROTC, and said she believes the program instills appealing qualities for young, inspired leaders.

"I really enjoy this program," Carrillo said. "What I like most about it is the discipline. Everything has to be in order. I like that.

"It looks really good on a college application. They know you are a responsible person if you are in JROTC. I have one more year in school. After this, I plan to go on an ROTC scholarship and join the Air Force."
JROTC is prohibited from recruiting members to join the military, said retired Maj. Madonna Roberts, senior Army instructor for Bamberg's JROTC.

"ROTC is run by the students," Roberts said, who works alongside fellow instructor retired Sgt. 1st Class Prince Young. It's just like an Army battalion. They fulfill all the positions. They run it. Sergeant Young and I are facilitators for the program."

Roberts highly encourages parents to have their children consider joining JROTC, she said.

"It is great for their future. All colleges look at leadership opportunities. When you apply for scholarships, when you apply at colleges, they ask what type of volunteerism the students have and what type of leadership. In JROTC, they can fulfill both of those by being in our program.

"Our mission is to motivate young people to be better citizens. It's to help make them better citizens and future leaders for our country. We promote academics. We promote contributing to communities."

This year Bamberg cadets have volunteered at more than 30 events and have volunteered more than 2,500 hours.

"We promote doing their fair share for the community and the school," Roberts said.

Bamberg's JROTC has earned enough points during the season to compete in four of seven events at the European Drill Competition, she said.