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...Oakland Technical HS. Oakland California. My 3rd year, just before graduation. Our Annual All City ROTC Competition at the Oakland Coliseum. May 28, 1969

As a Senior In my third year, I was a Company Commander. I was in charge of the '3rd Period' of Classes. We were always 'Honor Co.' Based on Merits earned. The Officers took the Corps very Seriously. We earned the respect we Exhibited. Yes, the Officers were saluted. Always give orders while AT Attention! Above ALL, set the Example. Our Credo...'Honour Duty Country'.

The Competiton was made up of 6 High Schools...Tech, Fremont, Castlemont, McClymond's, Skyline, and Oakland High. The 8th Brigade of the East Oakland, Bay Area. Each school was a Battalion.

The 'Competiton Platoon'

The 'Comp' Platoon was different from the 'Exabition' Drillteam, where the Routine is Made-up, 'Custom' Designed from the Members and Commander, themselves. The Comp Platoon was to Follow and execute a Specific routine of commands of Marching Drill, and Especially 'Manual of Arms', movements and placements of the M1 Garrand Rifles. The Commander has 5 Minutes to complete them. 28 cadets in 3 Squads of 9 plus 1 Platoon Sargent.

I was asked by the Instructor Sargents, if I would like to take charge of Commanding the Competition Platoon?? Being I was a member on it, the Last 2 years of competitions, and witnessed the Mistakes that were made by both the Platoon and Commanders in those times...I replied a Most Resounding Yes!! I will give You a First Place! We are in it to win it!

I had 90 Days-3 Months to Recruit, Sign-up, and Train 28 Cadets, with Rifles...to Drill and perform a 'Marching' Manual of Arms, in Perfected Timing. My Demand, out goal in training, was "I Only Want To Hear ONE Rifle!!" On each and every Rifle, We Loosened the 'Gas Cylinder Lock Ring' One Turn. This Loosened for the Forward Handguard and Caused the Rifle to Sound-Off, Loudly with 'Crack', we Called It 'Snap'...everytime our Hands 'Hit' the Rifle, Hard! Absolutely Awesome, the Loud Cracking Sound of 28 Rifles. all sounding as One, While Marching and Stationary in front of the VIP Stage.

For 90 days we Practiced, EVERY Tuesday and Thursday, Uniform Days. Mostly Everyday, after School for 1-1/2 Hours! ALL Members were Sure to Show Up, they wanted this! We worked hard on the Routine. Polished to Perfection! Zero Errors, Heightened Bravado. The Highest Moral. I Never had to give push-Ups for Punishment, Didn't Have too. And we didn't have the Time.

The One Day Before the Competition, on the Advice of our 'Senior Military Instructor', we took The Day OFF!...it worked, We were ready to 'Take the Floor'!

If you look at the Photo...it was our Tradition to 'Spit and Polish' our boots! We would make a 'Party' of doing so. We 'Bloused ' our Boots to 'Honour' the Rangers and All Special Forces. We were 'Called-Out' on it, as being 'Out of uniform', by members of the Other Competitors. The 'Verdict' was "The Commander Sets the guideline for the Uniform".

My Mother was in the audience, along with my older brother Roger...The Medic in Vietnam. We were the very first Event of the Competition, we Opened the 'Show'. We took the Floor Very Loudly, Yelling a 'Delade Cadence'...there were no 'Boys' in My Platoon. We Owned That Floor, and we're going to Prove It!

We went through our Marching Routine...Columns, Flanks, to the Rear, Cose and Open March. Best, Manual of Arms While Marching, the Most Polished.  We approached close to the Stage, did our 'Column Right' perfectly spaced and centered in front. Where 2 years earlier the Commander spaced too close and upon commanding the 'Open-Ranks', found himself Jammed into the Stage, itself.

My Commands, Platoon Halt, order arms...Not One Rifle 'Hitting' the Floor, Hard! Silence to Perfection! , left face...'Open ranks March'! Space Excellent! By the routine, I go and 'Check' the alignment of Each Squad...1st squad, by Protocol, the Book... "4th Man Back", he didn't 'Get-It', Once more, while seeing one of 4 Judges at the far end of the Squad, again "4th Man Back". It was cadet Busone, moving back to make Perfect alignment. I appreciated it, gave Me the opportunity to exhibit Knowlege of the Manual, The FM 22-5. Onto 2nd squad...PERFECT with a Judge Witnessing, 3rd  Squad, PERFECT and with a Judging. I Move to the Right Front Corner, "Ready Front". I Move to My Position, Centered and facing. The next command, of Manuel of Arms is the most difficult to perform..."Inspection Arms" the Bolts are all opened with a Glace into the receiver. 28 Rifles as ONE, I could Not be More Proud. Next "Ready", the thumb must be inserted into the breech and depress the 'follower' and HOLD IT!! One cadet had 'slight' trouble. I, and 28 Cadets held, until he was set, I held My next command, Then proceeded, "TWO"!! 28 Bolts close, 28 Triggers Pulled, ONE Rifle Heard! Incredible!!

We finished through the rest of our 'Arms'...'Order. Left Shoulder, Right Shoulder, Port Arms, back to order arms, Then the Crescendo, The 'piece-de-resitance'..."Present Arms". Rifle Snapped, Perfectly Vertical, Centered, Bayonet Stud between the eyes, all fingers joined. All Rifles Aligned, as Practiced 100's of Times.

I do My 'About face', and execute a Perfected 'Hand Salute', to all VIP's, Fingers straight and at the Tip of the Eyebrow, Thumb Hidden. I said Nothing! We are not here to Greet! We are here to Prove Perfection!! I Heard one Comment, the 'Medal of Honour' recipient said One Astonished, Respectful Word..."SHIT!!!". I knew exactly what he was implying. I did Not Smile, I was too busy being amazed with Pride in Our Team.

To finish...Dropped My Salute. About Face, and "Order arms", A 'CRACK' of the Right hand, then a Silence as the Rifles just 'Kiss' the floor, Then "close ranks", "right face", "right shoulder arms", "forward march"...and off the Floor. We are DONE! We Know We Won this!! We Owned that Floor! We're Out Of Here!

We are marching out to the Door and out to the staging area. We passed where My Mother was sitting up higher. I did not see her, but heard My Brother Roger, yell-out what would go down in History, "They Can't Be Touched!!".

My Mother, GOD Bless Her, later commented "Those Cadets Loved You".

I was later told, "the Judges never wrote anything Down!" The Commander was Judged at 100%.

There was No Advantage to  being the First Platoon 'on the floor', because Judges will hold back from giving the Platoon 100%...Just in case, another Platoon 'Might' perform with a Higher Scoring.

We Took the Trophy for 'First Place'!             

Last edited by marlinjack

The 'Manual of Arms'

A Drill-Down of perfection with the positioning of the M1 Rifle, while being Judged.

ROTC was a tradition in my family. Roger was in it 2 years earlier. Yes, he was a officer. Before he was drafted at age 20. He practiced the 'Manual'. Even carved a Garrand Rifle out of wood so he could practice at home. I was in Junior high school when I witnessed his ROTC Competition, in the 'Oakland Auditorium', back in 1966. He was the senior Cadet in the Manual of Arms drill down for Tech High. He was the Best!...but was, Disqualified by a Judge that checked his left-rear UNbuttoned Pocket!!! This is a cheap shot, as you'll read later. 'Dismissed', Roger, while leaving the floor...Angrily THROWS His Rifle across the Floor!! Blast out through the swinging doors, where Castlemonts' Band was staged ready to perform next. Knocking the First 3 Rows of the Band Flat to the floor. Must have been some broken teeth there. It Broke My Heart!

Fast forward to 1969.

For the 1968 Competition, I wanted to perform the M.O.A. to Honour My Brother, He was serving in Vietnam, a Medic, at this time. I was passed over for another cadet, the Instructor thought was a Better candidate. I even got a 'Military' Haircut to Impress. All I got was "what did You do, Lose a Fight with a Lawn-Mower?"

Later 1968 to 1969

NOW, It's My Turn. I am a Senior Cadet Captain. Now, I go to Work!!

For an Entire Year...EVERY Morning, every Lunch Hour, Every (After-School, (not tues. and thurs. as I was training a Platoon)) I would check out My M1 Rifle, take it into the Armory and Practice in Front of the Mirror, there! I would Polish to Perfection. Perform with My Eyes closed and then open and check in the Mirror until Perfect, every time! Lower the rifle to 'Order Arms', the Rifle MUST Be 'Flush' with the toe of the BOOT, Every Time. For a Year.

A Month before the Competition, Tech High was selected to host a 'Pass in Review' on our Football field. Where all 6 schools would Parade past a Dignitary, to Honour a Retiring 4 Star General. A 'Pass-in Review'. Serious Right!? It went very well. The Brigade parades past and performs a 'Eyes Right". It starts with the Brigade Commander Sounding Off..."Sound Adjutants' Call!!" The Marching Band Begins to Play, a Trumpet Sounds!

I don't remember who the General was, but He had a Serious Interest in the Exhibition of the 'Manual of Arms'. He had asked the Senior Instructor to have a Demonstration. "I want to see Your Best Cadet for the Manual of arms". I was ordered to report to the Instructor. I was told the General would like you to do a demonstrate. I go to report to the General standing outside the Armory. In passing by the Senior Instructor, he whispers a reminder..."Present Arms".

With the Entire Brigade as witness, I March up to the General, centered in front and spaced the Regulation 2 Feet. Come to Order arms at Attention and then Crack a Sharp Present Arms! My rifle has been 'Loosened', also. It Sounds Off!! I say Nothing, No Greeting! No Speaking under Present Arms.

The General Returns a Hand Salute, when he drops his, I return to Order arms. And the demonstration  begins. With the Instructor Sargent standing to my Right, his commands begin, always with 'Inspection Arms'! The weapon is First, Cleared and Safe. Onward through 'the Book' of rifle maneuvers, ending in Order arms. A second Salute is not necessary, I am Dismissed. One step back, and about face, go to Port arms and Move out. No response from the audience, none expected.

I was informed Later that  day, from the Senior Military Instructor, when all was said and done. "The 4 Star General told Me", "In all My 40 Years in 'This Mans' ARMY", That Cadet is the Best I have Ever Seen!"

I was well Practiced! I was Ready!! Perfection!



May 28, 1969 8:30 PM  the ROTC Competition at the Oakland Coliseum

...Leaving the staging room, walking down the corridor of the Oakland Coliseum, Making My way to the Next event, The 'Manual of Arms Drill-Down'. I am with a an-tirage of my fellow cadets, as we run into a Group of cadets from 'Castlemont High'. They present themselves as 'helpers' to 'Check' Me out in Preparation for the upcoming competition. They are all around Me, I'am Not Having It! so my friends and I Push on to the Staging area, we're up Next!

We Are just ready to March out onto the Floor as Groups of 6 from each school. Freshmen, Juniors and seniors! When My Big Brother Roger, Shows up, with not much time, He Inspects Me...and sure as Hell, he finds My Right-Rear Pocket was UNButtoned!!! And He Fixes It. I had been checked-out by My Cadets, before we Left our dressing room! It was those Bastards from CastleMont! I realized, one of them HAD Fiddled with that same pocket, exclaiming "You're Good". Remember Castlemont NO HONOUR!!

We Marched out onto the Floor, the competition began. Eliminations followed. The Judges were advised about Me. Standing Directly in front of Me, yes! Feel the Shock! CRACK!! One Foot in Front of Your Face! The Judge Looks Me straight in the Eyes, My Eyes are focused Straight Ahead, Over his Head! I gave it All I Had. I'am the Best there Is!! A Year of practice for these few Minutes. I could Hear the Crack of My Rifle Echo off the Far Upper wall of the Coliseum. Yes! The Judge DID Check My Pocket, ALL My Pockets! NOT 'This Time', SIR!! When Facing the Line I see another cadet dismissed, from HIS Pocket being unbuttoned. They eliminate you with large numbered cards Counting down from 6 to 1, so the Audience can see who's Loosing and Winning. I was on the Far Left position in the Line up. The Last thing I saw, facing forward, out of corner of my eye...was the number 3 Cadet being dismissed, leaving only Me and the Senior Cadet from, guess where, Castlemont. The next and Last Command was 'Left Face'. I started My Left Face as I Glimpsed, the Other Cadet do a 'Right Face'. I'am thinking "Your Other Left, You Idiot!!" My back towards all, the Judge comes up and Hands Me Card #1. I had Won!! The Other Cadet...That's what You get for Representing Cheaters! There is Justice in GODs' Universe!

I was called up Front and Center, 4 times, to be presented with a medal, pinned on My Chest by the Medal of Honour recipient. For Shooting, Drill and M.O.A. By all of the Points earned...The Over all competition was a Tie, Tech High with Fremont HS! Because They had placed Higher on the 'Military Science' Exam, they won the Tie, and the over all Trophy. On the Exam, I came in 13th all city, of approximately 1800 Cadets. For all of My contributions in the ROTC...The Next Day, Our Military Instructors Awarded to Me, the Coveted Medal of 'Superior Cadet' for Seniors. A Great way to Complete 3 Years in High School and the R.O.T.C

Graduation was the Next Week, June 6th.

To Be Continued 'The Rifleteam'

     

Last edited by marlinjack

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