Cadet D.J. Smith Share

Jun 13, 2019  |  Layla Price-Bodkin

Mar­i­on born and raised D.J. Smith has already achieved great things ear­ly in his life. Embark­ing on 18 years of age, the JROTC Cadet recent­ly took a nation­al title in an indi­vid­ual drill com­pe­ti­tion. Video footage from the Nation­al Cham­pi­onship in Day­tona, Flori­da, shows Cadet Smith grace­ful­ly spin­ning, throw­ing, flip­ping, and catch­ing his 9‑pound rifle while con­duct­ing steps with pre­ci­sion. While he had the floor, Smith floored his audience.

Cadet Smith’s gold-win­ning per­for­mance:

Smith has tak­en his option­al JROTC com­mit­ment to the next lev­el, hav­ing won 5 drill com­pe­ti­tions (4 region­al & 1 nation­al), per­son­al­ly com­plet­ing an unde­feat­ed sea­son. Smith excels in phys­i­cal agili­ty, and has a pas­sion for it. He was a vital part of JROTC’s Raiders, the phys­i­cal agili­ty team, help­ing them win 4th place nation­al­ly in 2019. He also set a new JROTC record in pull-ups (37).

While with JROTC, Smith vol­un­teered on the Col­or Guard, and also par­tic­i­pat­ed in com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice projects includ­ing for the Mar­i­on Nation­al Ceme­tery and Vet­er­ans Affairs. He is also a life­long mem­ber of Nel­son Street Wes­leyan Church.

Sup­port from the community…friends, fam­i­ly, instruc­tors, and neighbors…has dri­ven me to do some­thing with drill. I want to thank them for their dona­tions, love, and sup­port,” explained Smith. Smith also expressed that Mar­i­on is a car­ing com­mu­ni­ty. Some­one is always will­ing to help if you need it, whether help­ing you grab some­thing from a high shelf at Wal­mart, or stop­ping to help you if you get into a car accident.”

A few days from now, Smith will be serv­ing active-duty in the U.S. Army, sta­tioned in Fort Sill, Okla­homa, with an occu­pa­tion of Artillery Can­non Crew­man. He said depend­ing on what the future holds, he might return home to Marion.