Drill Team


The modern drill team representing the Youngstown ARS Composite Squadron was founded in 2002, but plans were in the works to form one years before. The team, originally composed of 16 members and designated the 051 Drill Team, would take on the primary role of competing in the various levels of the CAP National Cadet Competition, as well as provide a disciplined marching unit to perform in local parades and civic events, working closely with the Squadron's Color Guard.


The first modern team, commanded by C/Lt Col William Hrinko, was formed for the 2002 competition year. They won the wing competition by default and advanced on to the Great Lakes Region Cadet Competition at Camp Atterbury, Indiana under the designation "Ohio Wing Drill Team". With little to no wing support, the underdog team went to compete for the first time against seasoned veteran teams, taking third place overall and placing first in the mile run, second in the quiz panel and volleyball, and third for all of the other events. Notably, the drill team missed first place in volleyball by one point, but most importantly, they were the first team from Ohio to beat Illinois in a volleyball match in nine years.


For the short-lived 2003 competition year, the team was commanded by C/Maj Steven Brownlee. This year they competed against two other teams at the wing level - the Group 7 Drill Team from the Dayton area and the Group 5 Drill Team from Cleveland. Once again, they were the only squadron in the wing to field its own team. The competition was tight, going up against the extremely experienced Group 7 Team, 051 was able to hold their own. Largely due to the quick response time and superior knowledge of team member Nathan Kish, the team dominated the Quiz Bowl event, nearly shutting out the other teams. The 051 Drill Team swept second place in all of the other events in close competition with first place. In the end, the team took second place while Group 7 went on to Region Competition, taking second place there as the 2003 Ohio Wing Drill Team.


Taking the reigns for the 2004 Competition Year was C/Maj Steven Kotheimer. Once again, the 051 Drill Team arrived at Wing Competition to find that they had no competition, thus taking the title of "Ohio Wing Drill Team" by default. At the GLR Competition, only the 051 Drill Team and the Michigan Wing Drill Team showed up as Illinois Wing did not send their Drill Team for the first time in quite a while. The 051 Team took 1st Place in every event except the Panel Quiz and the Fleetfoot Award, thus winning the title of "Great Lakes Region Drill Team." This was the first time in seven years that Illinois would not be representing the Great Lakes Region. In 1997, the Group 7 Drill Team from Ohio represented GLR.

Moving on to the prestigious National Cadet Competition, the odd trend of no-show teams continued. With the forfeiture of the Utah Wing (RMR) Drill Team and the Washington Wing (PCR) Drill Team, it was the second time in NCC history that only six drill teams would be competing. Notably, due to the quick reaction times of Team Commander C/Maj Steve Kotheimer, the 051 Drill Team competed without a single boundary violation and consistently hit center mark for reporting without any adjustments. The competition was extremely rough, competing against extremely experienced and very well supported teams from Puerto Rico, New York, Delaware, and Arizona. The team from Missouri was a rookie team that had never competed against another team until the National Competition. Illustrating how tight the competition was, the 051 Drill Team missed 1st Place in inspection by a mere 40 points out of 3000 (the point scale at that time.) Overall the 051 Drill Team finished in 4th Place, beating out the veteran Arizona Wing (SWR) Drill Team who took 5th and the Missouri Wing (NCR) Drill Team who took 6th. The Puerto Rico Wing (SER) Drill Team won the competition with the New York Wing (NER) Drill Team and the Delaware Wing (MER) Drill Team taking 2nd and 3rd respectively. In the individual events, the 051 Drill Team won 2nd Place in Volleyball, 3rd Place in Standard Drill and Inspection, 4th Place in the Panel Quiz, and 5th Place in the Mile Run and the Written Test.


The 2005 Competition year saw C/Lt Col Leigha Samples taking command of the renamed Youngstown ARS Composite Squadron Drill Team. Seemingly the only operating drill team left in Ohio Wing, the team won the Wing Competition by default once more. C/CMSgt James Evans and C/Maj Nathan Kish, who would later graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Military Academy at West Point respectively, tied for the highest score on the Written Exam. C/2d Lt Brad Hrinko and C/Amn Kaity Mullins won the Fleetfoot Awards for male and female respectively. Unfortunately, due to outside commitments and internal squadron conflict, the Youngstown ARS Composite Squadron Drill Team was unable to fill its roster for the region competition. To solve this the unit turned to its neighbor, the Medina County Skyhawks Composite Squadron (GLR-OH-219), who were able to provide the support the team needed. This was the only time cadets from outside the squadron would compete on the 051 Drill Team. At the Region level the "Three Team Competition" would finally be broken as four drill teams competed: Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. This was the first in many years that Wisconsin participated in the drill team side. However, with the return of the Illinois Wing Drill Team program, the competition would be tough. This time around, with the taste of defeat at the hands of Illinois in 2002 still lingering, the team was able to hold its own. They placed first in Standard Drill and the Written Exam and swept second place in all other events, some just a close few points from first. Individually, C/CMSgt James Evans and C/Capt Adam Essenmacher (GLR-OH-219) both tied for highest score on the Written Exam. At the end, Illinois inevitably won, with the Youngstown ARS Composite Squadron Drill Team coming in second and Michigan and Wisconsin tieing for third.


This was an unsteady year for the Youngstown ARS Composite Squadron Drill Team. The squadron was uncertain of its ability to fill a competitive roster, and the prospects of again recruiting from outside the squadron or not competing at all were very evident. With the urging of the team's founder, now 1st Lt William Hrinko, CAP, the squadron pulled its resources together at the last minute to again compete with a roster composed entirely of its own cadets, placing C/Lt Col Steven Kotheimer back at the team's helm. With only around a month's worth of practice, they arrived at the Wing Cadet Competition to find themselves to once again be the only drill team present. It was another win by default. All was looking good soon after in preparation for region, until Kotheimer unexpectedly decided to relinquish his command of the team, leaving it lost and without direction. C/1st Lt James Evans later stepped up to assume leadership and tried desperately to bring the team together for the region competition, but to no avail. A good majority of the team had shifted priorities by that point, leaving Ohio unrepresented by a drill team at the Great Lakes Region Cadet Competition for the first time in many years.


Finally in 2007 another team would join in the competition - the Eddie Rickenbacker Composite Squadron Drill Team. An interesting item is that opposing team was commanded by a member of our 2005 Drill Team - Adam Essenmacher. Our team lead by C/Maj James Evans went neck and neck in each event, but in the end, the 051 Drill Team was again victorious. At Great Lakes Region Cadet Competition, our team was vastly younger, outsized, and outranked by the teams from Michigan and Wisconsin Wings. Not to mention we also had a lack in continuity from skipping the 2006 Competition. In the end, our team came home with the most first place trophies, but due to the tie-breaker of Written Exam placement (in which we took third) our team was given Second Place Overall. Wisconsin went on to represent Great Lakes Region in both Drill Team and Color Guard at the National Cadet Competition.


C/Lt Col James Evans took command of the team again for the 2008 Ohio Wing Cadet Competition where we once again faced the Eddie Rickenbacker Composite Squadron. Coincidentally, the opposing team was commanded by another former 2005 Team Member - Nick Zachman. It was again a neck and neck competition, but once again we came out on top. Since wing competition was held in November, there was a large span of time until the Region Competition in May, where 5 year team veteran C/2d Lt Michael Hnat took command against teams from Michigan and Wisconsin. Everything was looking good until the end of the Standard Drill routine when the back half of the flight turned the wrong direction on a flank, leading to three boundary violations and a time limit violation - cementing the team in last place in the event. Shaken, the team botched the Innovative Drill Routine directly afterward. These two events went down in team history as "The Meltdown" and continue as a cautionary tale in team training. Fortunately the team was able to rally in the other events and come in Second Place Overall again. Michigan went on to represent Great Lakes Region in both Drill Team and Color Guard at the National Cadet Competition.


After undergoing a deep self-evaluation and analysis of the 2008 Season, the team completely overhauled its selection and training practices. C/Lt Col Joe Hardy took command for the Wing Competition which had returned to a single team competition, however, the team got to perform in the first rate facilities of The Ohio State University. Essentially Wing ended up being a dress rehearsal for the Region Competition that would come two weeks later at Wright Patterson AFB. The competition would be the Michigan Wing Drill Team from Selfridge Cadet Squadron and the Wisconsin Wing Drill Team from Timmerman Composite Squadron. Unfortunately, neither Michigan or Wisconsin were able to send full teams, which penalized them severely in some of the events. This year the team finally managed to win the right to return to the National Cadet Competition by winning the Region Competition.