History comes to life for JROTC cadets at Gettysburg and D.C. Posted: Jan 25, 2019



As part of a leadership class, 10 JROTC cadets from Marion High School traveled in January 2019 to Gettysburg Battlefield National Park where they had the opportunity to undertake a military-style staff ride, a learning experience rarely available to the average high school student.

Marion High School JROTC cadets pause for a photo by the Indiana memorial at Gettysburg Battlefield National Park. The cadets have an in-depth understanding of the battle and its effects after undertaking a military-style staff ride, a historical study and analysis of the battle.

A staff ride is a historical study of a campaign or battle that is used as professional development by the U.S. Army for its leaders. A staff ride examines the dynamics of battle and the human dimension as well. It can illustrate how terrain, unit cohesion, leadership, technology, and more affected a historical battle, and therefore provide a framework for battle analysis. It also promotes the study of military history and heritage.

To prepare for the staff ride, the cadets had to research a particular portion of the Civil War Battle at Gettysburg. While walking the ground on the battlefield in Virginia, each cadet had to describe the actions of the opposing leaders and how the events in fighting were affected by the various leaders’ decisions and the challenges with the terrain and communication.

“A staff ride is a great learning experience,” said retired Lt. Col. David Farlow, senior Army instructor for the MHS JROTC. “It is a tool that can be used to examine how internal and external factors, communication and timely decisions affect what actually happens. We can learn from the experiences of others.”

Speaking of her experience on the staff ride, MHS junior I’Yela Hornaday said: “It hit hard when we saw that people actually went there and lost their lives to fight for something they strongly believed in.”

Cadet JD Smith commented that he didn’t realize how exciting it could be to actually walk the battlefield, live the history, and learn from the staff ride experience.

Marion High School JROTC cadets recently traveled to Gettysburg Battlefield National Park where they conducted an in-depth historical military study called a staff ride, analyzing the actions of leaders during the three-day battle that changed the course of the Civil War. Here, the group stands by the sign welcoming visitors to the historic site and museum. 

The MHS cadets then traveled on to Washington, D.C., where they spent two days visiting the U.S. Capitol, the monuments on the Washington Mall, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Holocaust Museum.

“The memorials and monuments [on the Mall] were beautiful,” MHS senior Haley O’Neil said. “They also showed all of the sacrifice people have made for all of us.”

Probably the most somber experience for the cadets came as they toured the Holocaust Museum. There, they followed the journey of a Holocaust victim, not knowing if their person survived or died until near the end of the tour.

At one point in the tour, junior Josiah Hamilton, was captivated by a picture of a little boy and girl.

“It was like looking in a mirror,” he said. “It could have easily been my sister and me. I thank God that I was born in a different time and age.”

Marion JROTC cadets pose for a photo outside the U.S. Capitol building during their class trip to Washington, D.C.

Marion JROTC cadets listen to their tour guide inside the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.


The cadets on the trip were Cheyenne Russ, Anyssa Shultz, Haley O’Neil, Hailey Teeguarden, I’Yela Hornaday, Jade McKoon, Angel Morales, Kaleb Starr, Josiah Hamilton, and DJ Smith. All agreed they learned a great deal about their country from the trip.

This trip was made possible in part due to a generous Grant from Round Robins Bingo.

MHS JROTC earns best small school title the Raiders National Championship

The Marion High School JROTC Raiders competed this past weekend against the country’s best Army JROTC teams at the Raider National Championship, and claimed the title of best small school in the nation!

The Marion High School JROTC Raider Team earned the title as the Overall Champions in the Small School category during the Raider National Championship on Nov. 3-4, 2018, in Molena, Ga. The Giants placed fourth overall, defeating numerous larger schools and private military academies.

The Giants fielded two co-ed teams at the competition in Molena, Ga. The Giants A Team (varsity) competed in the two-day U.S. Army National Raider Championships and brought home fourth place — the highest placement of any small school team in the competition. The Giants B Team (JV) competed in the one-day All-Service Raider Challenge Championships and came in eighth. The Giants beat many private military academies and larger schools. Nearly 100 schools were competing.

The Marion High School JROTC Raider JV Team competed in the All-Service Raider National Championship in Molena, Ga. The Giants earned an impressive eighth place finish from among the nearly 50 teams representing Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps JROTC programs. 

“Oh my gosh! What an amazing effort from our cadets!” said Lt. Col. (Retired) David Farlow, the senior Army instructor and coach for the Raider Team. “These results are the culmination of months of hard work and dedication. Our cadets faced off against the best teams from across the country, including many private military academies. The Giants proved that a small program from Marion, Indiana, can compete and win against the best Raiders from anywhere.”

This is the fourth year the Giants have competed in the Raider Nationals, and each year they have improved their standings in the final rankings.

In addition, two Marion cadets earned accolades for their placements during the Ultimate Raider Competition: senior Audrey Dickerson and junior Tyron Rice placed 21st and 25th in the nation, respectively.

During the Best Raider Competition, the cadets run nearly two miles while wearing a 35-pound backpack and negotiating various obstacles, including a 10-foot wall they must scale.

Cadet Audrey Dickerson scales a 10-foot wall after running nearly 2 miles with a 35-pound backpack during the Ultimate Raider Challenge during the Raider National Championship in Molena, Ga. 

Five events comprise the Raider National Championship, and the Giants A Team finished in the top 10 in all five!

The events and the Giants A Team’s placement in the 2018 competition were:

• 5-kilometer mountain run; sixth place
• 1-mile cross country rescue, where cadets wear 35-pound backpacks, carry a stretcher weighing up to 150 pounds, and negotiate various obstacles, including a 10-foot wall they must scale and a 30 feet long mud pit; fourth place
• One-rope bridge crossing nearly 90 feet over a river; ninth place
• Physical team test, where cadets run and carry a variety of items while negotiating an 800-meter course with various obstacles; fifth place
• The Gauntlet, where the cadets wear 35-pound backpacks and run nearly 1 mile through a wooded terrain while negotiating various obstacles, including a wall they must scale; fourth place

“I am so proud of how both teams competed this year,” said Dickerson, the Raider Team commander. “We continued to improve throughout the season. It was hard work but it was also the mental toughness coming from the heart of each Raider. These Raiders are awesome.”

Marion High School JROTC cadets Tyron Rice, I’Yela Hornaday, and David Cannon crawl from a culvert during the gauntlet event at the Raider National Championship in Molena, Ga. The Giants were the overall Champions in the Small School category and finished fourth overall, beating numerous larger schools and private academies in the competition.

Another veteran of the competition was already looking ahead.

“I really liked competing and winning this year,” said junior Tayler Garriott, who has for three years at the National Championship. “But next year is my senior year and we have to figure out how to improve to place even higher. That will be tough.”

Many individuals and organizations donated to help the MHS Raider team travel to the championship.

“We simply could not provide the cadets with such an opportunity without the tremendous support from our community and school system,” Farlow said.

The full list of cadets who competed:

A Team:
  • Audrey Dickerson
  • Juan Rodriguez
  • DJ Smith
  • Haley O’Neil
  • Tyron Rice
  • Tayler Garriott
  • Nick Elliott
  • David Cannon
  • Josiah Hamilton
  • I’Yela Hornaday
  • Kylee O’Neil
  • Kayleina O’Donnell
B Team:
  • Cheyenne Russ
  • Hailey Teeguarden
  • Jessica Pickell
  • Emily LeBlanc
  • Alyssa Townsend
  • Israel Ibanes
  • Lucas Riley
  • Josh Harris
  • Josh Nacke
  • Daniel Yancy
  • Kaleb Starr
  • Gabe Holland

The Marion High School JROTC Raider Team runs toward victory during the physical team test at the Raider National Championship. The Giants placed fifth on this event and earned the title as the Overall Champions in the Small School category in the competition Nov. 3-4, 2018, in Molena, Ga.

Two MHS cadets advance to JROTC Marksmanship National Championship


Marion High School JROTC cadets Hailey Teeguarden and Levi Hofmann have qualified to advance to the Army JROTC Marksmanship National Championship in the precision category.  They are the only Army JROTC cadets from Indiana who qualified to advance to the National Championship to be held in February.

The two have previously competed in the National Championship the past two years in the sporter category, which is a lower level of shooting. The precision category is the highest level of air rifle competition, the same level that college and Olympics athletes compete in.

“I was so excited when I heard that Levi and I qualified. Shooting at the Nationals is fun but very stressful. This will be my last year to have a chance to compete,” said Teeguarden, a senior.


Marion High School JROTC Cadet Hailey Teeguarden takes aim in the standing position and Cadet Levi Hofmann takes aim from the kneeling position during a precision air rifle match. Both have qualified to compete in the Army JROTC Marksmanship National Championship in February.

Retired Lt. Col. David Farlow, the rifle marksmanship team coach and JROTC senior Army instructor for the MHS JROTC, commented: “Qualifying to compete in the precision category is quite an accomplishment for these cadets. They just transitioned into this higher category of shooting a few months ago, so being able to advance to the championship is huge!”

Teeguarden and Hofmann will also shoot in early January in a qualifying round, seeking to qualify to attend the Junior Olympics.

The JROTC Rifle Team has done very well over the past several years, and these two cadets have contributed much to the success of the team. Hofmann earned the title of best JROTC marksman in the state last week during the Indiana JROTC State Championship.