As soon as Thomas Dale High School JROTC senior Daniel Wayne was told he would be the 8-year-old program’s new battalion commander, his first thoughts were of his father, who is on active duty as a captain in the U.S. Army in Afganistan.
“I know how important his service is for him and us,” Wayne said. During the change of command held on Friday, April 30, his thoughts shifted to the cadets he was about to lead. A little nervous about the speech he was to deliver to the 158 cadets standing at attention on the school’s football field, he began looking into the eyes and hearts of each cadet and his nervousness was replaced with pride.
“I was proud of the cadets and all the hard work they put forth this past year. Proud to be commander of such a dedicated group,” he said. Wayne’s responsibility, under the direction of Lt. Col. Samuel McNabb, Thomas Dale’s JROTC instructor, is to help delegate for the events held throughout the year, oversee everything and take charge of the battalion in group situations. Wayne replaces Brianna McWilliams, who served as battalion commander for the 2009-2010 school year.
After the changing of command, field day exercises got under way. Each company, which included Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Fox Trot and the 1st Company, Headquarters, took to the field for a little healthy competition. The companies (teams) were scored by active soldiers from Ft. Lee on drill competition, rope bridge, tug-of-war, capture the flag, push-ups and sit-ups and 4X100 relay race.
Charlie Company scored the highest and earned placement on a plaque that hangs in the school.
Lt. Col. McNabb said all the teams did really well and the action reports from the Army were very good.
“The day went really well. The active army said we were well-organized and they were surprised how well the students did,” he said. “The scores for their push-ups and sit-ups were better than the regular Army. The scores were really good and they were competitive and well-mannered.”