5-state JROTC drill meet is Concordia tradition

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KPC NEWS SERVICE

Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne will host the 47th annual Homer L. Clendenen Memorial Junior ROTC Drill Meet, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, March 17, in the Hilliard Gates Sports Center, 2101 E. Coliseum Blvd.

The public is invited to watch 13 Junior ROTC units, made up of more than 500 cadets from Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio compete in Armed and Unarmed Drill Team Exhibition, Armed Drill Team Regulation and Color Guard Team categories, in a battle for the championship.

“The cadets represent all branches of the military in this highly-competitive and prestigious event,” said Major (retired) John C. Sheaffer, the senior instructor of the Concordia JROTC.

According to Sheaffer, the drill meet’s namesake, Capt. Homer L. Clendenen, was a senior Army instructor from 1968 until his death in 1972. Sheaffer said that as the instructor for Concordia Lutheran, Clendenen brought the CLHS Army JROTC Cadet Battalion into the new age of instruction. Sheaffer said Clendenen trained cadets to make decisions and to plan and execute those strategies. Clendenen founded the Concordia Drill Meet in the winter of 1971. The Cadets changed the name of the meet to honor him after his passing.

High schools taking part in the meet are Ben Davis, Marion, Concordia Lutheran, Fern Creek, Fern Creek Ladies, Hubbard, Marmion Academy, Mattoon, Arsenal Tech, Carver Military Academy, Springfield, Warren Central and Warsaw.

The meet is a collaboration between IPFW Army ROTC, Concordia Lutheran High School Army Junior ROTC, and the Indiana Army National Guard.

Concordia won individual and group awards in several categories last year.

The CLHS JROTC Officer’s Ball will be April 13 at Goeglein’s Homestead Banquet Hall, 7311 Maysville Road, Fort Wayne. The Officer’s Ball in a longtime tradition of the program that is exclusive to CLHS JROTC students and invited guests. “This year we invited Vice President Mike Pence to be our guest of honor. However, we have not received a confirmation nor a declined invitation from the vice president,” the Concordia unit said in a statement.

The Concordia JROTC will host the A.J. Arnett 5K Honor Run on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 19. The event also commemorates the 100th anniversary of the JROTC. The race begins at 8:30 a.m., starting and finishing at CLHS, 1601 St. Joe River Drive, Fort Wayne. The race will start with a cannon blast. Spc. Arnett is a 2004 Concordia graduate and JROTC member. He deployed to Iraq with the U.S. Army in January 2005 and was seriously wounded that July. The run will benefit Honor Flight of Northeast Indiana and Shepherd’s House Fort Wayne. Early-bird registration is underway. Register is $23 through 11:59 p.m. March 31; register and get more information at ajarnetthonorrun.com. Students in K-8 run for free, but must register at the high school.