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37 TRW takes virtual approach to hosting annual drill down

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Since 2017, the 37th Training Wing hosted the Drill Down Invitational. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the prospects of holding an in-person invitational this year were bleak.

The 37th Training Group technical training Black Rope drill team showcase their skills at the Pfingston Reception Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, April 17, 2021, during the annual Drill Down Invitational. There are typically two drill down events hosted annually promoting esprit de corps and morale among Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Agnes Koterba)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Since 2017, the 37th Training Wing hosted the Drill Down Invitational. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the prospects of holding an in-person invitational this year were bleak.

The 59th Training Group technical training Black Rope drill team perform their routine at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, April 17, 2021, during the annual Drill Down Invitational. There are typically two drill down events hosted annually promoting esprit de corps and morale among Airmen. The 59th TRG is located at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. (U.S. Air Force photo by Agnes Koterba)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Since 2017, the 37th Training Wing hosted the Drill Down Invitational. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the prospects of holding an in-person invitational this year were bleak.

But a group of 37th Training Group Military Training Leaders pursued a different approach. Thanks to Senior Master Sgt. Kelli Jackson, and Tech. Sgts. Morgan Grebens, Matthew Daum, and Takiah Christensen, the tradition will continue virtually.

In years past, drill teams traveled to JBSA-Lackland to compete. Thousands of guests attended the invitational to watch as Airmen showcased their talents during a series of drill routines.

 “This year is going to be very different. This year we will not host a huge event with attendance from the five training groups, distinguished visitors, spectators, or local vendors. The 2021 Virtual Drill Down will not be a competition,” Daum stated. 

On April 17, two technical training drill teams, known as Black Ropes, from the 37th TRG and 59th TRG performed their freestyle drill routine highlighting their creativity, dedication, and teamwork. The event was recorded, and will be combined with drill team videos from the 17th TRG, Goodfellow AFB, Texas; 81st TRG, Keesler AFB, Mississippi; and 82nd TRG, Sheppard AFB, Texas. The virtual invitational will then be shown on various social media outlets April 30.

While the event was not in person this year, the military training leaders took the lead in making the drill down happen virtually.

“The 37th TRG wanted to host the annual drill down to keep the tradition alive, provide morale and esprit de corps for the training Airmen,” Christensen said.

Jackson, 37th TRG military training superintendent, expressed her gratitude for everyone’s contribution to making the event a success.

“Although COVID hindered our opportunity to physically bring all the Airmen together this year, it didn’t hinder our spirits or collaborative efforts to pull off a first ever virtual event,” Jackson said.

“I am thankful for the support provided by our training wings, training groups, public affairs team, military training leaders, and drill teams” she added. “They are the true heroes for making this idea a reality.”

The skills displayed during the drill down were memorable and a true reflection of each team's commitment. 

“We expect excellence in all of our Airmen and you all repeatedly show that every single day. You show how excellent you make our Air Force. Sometimes though we come across Airmen such as these that take that bar higher. Truly phenomenal,” said Col. Joyce Storm, 37th TRG commander. “I truly appreciate being on your team and you all being a part of my family, my brothers and sisters.”

 

Airmen, families, and community members can watch the drill performances on the Facebook pages for the 37th TRW and 37th TRG starting April 30 at 11 a.m.

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