Members of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets will participate in the annual Jaffe Eager Squad and Eager Individual drill competitions on March 25.

Drill, or marching, is a storied tradition in the military that stems from the need to move large numbers of troops from place to place in an orderly fashion. The community is invited to watch the competition — which will stress precision and unison in motion — but asked to not distract the cadets who are competing.

The Jaffe Eager Squad competition will be from 7 to 10 a.m. Each cadet’s uniform will be inspected in front of Thomas Hall at 191 Turner St. NW, followed by the marching portion of the competition in the Perry Street Parking Lot 3, near Goodwin Hall. The rain location is the Perry Street Parking Garage.

“The competition represents the culmination of hard work, dedication, and discipline that cadets show through rifle drill and 'Guidon' knowledge,” said Cadet Alex Rastovac, commander of last year’s winning Eager Squad team and a senior from Gurnee, Illinois, who is double majoring in international studies and Russian.

The "Guidon" is a book issued to freshmen that contains all information important to their training and development.

“I learned the intricacies of leadership first-hand by serving as a junior commander. As my company's Eager Squad commander, it was a relief not having someone to report to. It allowed me the opportunity to understand each squad member's personality and develop a training regimen that would successfully bring everyone together as a cohesive unit,” Rastovac said.

“Winning, for me, portrayed the tenacity of my squad. Their hard work and perseverance through the practices that sometimes lasted long into the night definitely showed on that day. I could not be more proud of them and their accomplishments,” he said.

Each company’s Eager Squad consists of a junior class commander, two sophomore squad leaders, and eight freshmen. In addition, a freshman and a sophomore will represent each company in the Eager Individual competition, which consists of a test on cadet knowledge, a uniform inspection, and a test on proficiency in accordance with Armed Standard drill.

The Eager Individual competition will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon outside Thomas Hall.

The top freshman is recognized with the Lt. Edward Raney Freshman Proficiency Award, and the top sophomore receives the John E. Hill Memorial Sophomore Proficiency Award.

The Jaffe Eager Squad Trophy, presented to the winner of the Annual Eager Squad Drill competition, is named in honor of the late Jeff Jaffe, a member of the Corps of Cadets Class of 1942. Each of the 11 members of the winning squad is recognized with a cash award made possible by a trust established by Jaffe. 

Jaffe was a member of his unit's Eager Squad when he was a cadet, and the experience meant so much to him that he wanted to make sure it was still a meaningful event today. Beginning in 2004, Jaffe donated the money to purchase the trophy and plaque, as well as annually giving the monetary award for the winning cadets.

Members of the winning squad and the two individual winners wear a special patch on their uniform designating their accomplishment for the remainder of their cadet career.

All winners will be recognized at the April 20 Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Military Awards Ceremony.

The Corps of Cadets conducts the competitions in accordance with FM 22-5, the Army’s Field Manual on Drill and Ceremonies. All rifles used in the drill competition and individual drill inspections are demilitarized, meaning they have no firing pins.

Written by Cadet Jasmine Jacobs, a senior from Newport News, Virginia, majoring in public relations

Share this story