9/11 competition unites JROTC cadets and first responders

Officer B.P. Dawson tests Kyra Bixler on facts she studied on the WSPD dur-ing the drill completion at the 9/11 Public Safety Challenge.

9/11 competition unites JROTC cadets and first responders
September 15
05:55 2016

Photo by Todd Luck



The city and county commemorated the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by holding a competition for Junior ROTC cadets at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex on Saturday, Sept. 10.

Now in its second year, the 9/11 Public Safety Challenge lets cadets interact with first responders and even discover a little of what it takes to be one. Before it began, local first responders did their traditional 9/11 procession. A bell was rung and taps was played for the fallen.

Elected officials such as Mayor Allen Joines remarked about the occasion.

“They tried to demoralize America, to dim our spirit, but just the opposite happened, America came together,” said Joines about the country’s reaction to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, which he said “may have been our finest hour.”

Then the competition began. There was marksmanship with pellet guns, a regular staple of JROTC competitions. The close orders drill competition, another regular JROTC competition, was judged by Winston-Salem Police officers.

The Public Safety Raider Course let cadets go through a course similar to the one used to train first responders. It included clearing a fence, rolling with a 100 pound bag, climbing up and down stairs carrying a hose with firefighter gear on and then dragging a 150 pound dummy while wearing the gear.

Commemorations on 9/11 have a long tradition of honoring first responders, many of whom were killed trying to save others when the World Trade Center collapsed. LTC Willie McCoy, JROTC director for Winston-Salem Forsyth County schools, said he felt the competition was a good way to continue that tradition and educate the young cadets, most of whom were too young to remember 9/11.

“It’s a good commemoration to let them know what America has gone through, and I think the more history they know about 9/11, the more they grow and learn to respect what happened on that day,” said McCoy.

All 10 schools with JROTC programs competed. Jovell Moore, a senior at Carver High School, had the fastest time in the raider course for the second time this year. He said it was exhausting, but he was prepared for it. He joined JROTC because he wants to join the Army and follow in the footsteps of his military uncles. He said if he changed his mind and pursues a career in public safety, he now knows he can do it.

“It shows me what they go through,” Moore said about the raider course.

It was the first year that female cadets ran the challenge’s raider course. Nascha Blue, a senior at Glenn High School, was among those who completed the course. The daughter of a retired Army recruiter, Blue plans to go into the Army, too. She said the course has given her a new appreciation of first responders.

“It was intense,” Blue said.

Atkins Academic and Technology High School is the overall winner.

9/11 Public Safety Challenge Winners

Overall Team Winner–Atkins

Marksmanship Winners- 1. East Forsyth   2. Reagan  3. Atkins

Regulation Drill Winners- 1. Reynolds   2. Atkins    3. Reagan

Public Safety Raider Challenge Winners-1.  Carver 2. Atkins  3. Mount Tabor

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Wali Pitt

Wali Pitt

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