A Dynamic Duo

A Dynamic Duo

4/C’s Jacob Fernandes (L) and Nicholas Costa (R) had a desire to follow in their fathers’ footsteps, both of whom had served. As a result, each had eagerly signed on for MMA, arriving for Orientation this past August ready to take on the challenges that they knew were about to come their way.

Though growing up in different towns…Coventry, RI and Norwich, CT respectively, they knew something else before arriving on campus…one another. Fernandes and Costa, both 7 CO Drill Team members, had competed as rivals in contests throughout high school in that very tight, niche community where the ability to spin and toss rifles with grace and precision is as much an inherent trait as it is a learned skill.

MMA’s Drill Team competes in 2-3 of these events throughout the year. Similar to a track meet with different events, these competitions consist of Drill, Color Guard, Squad Basic, and Platoon Divisions. And while MMA has found some success in the past at these competitions, no one had yet to achieve what these two freshman have. Earning the Bronze Medal in the 2 Man Drill Competition against older, more experienced teams, they bested West Point and Annapolis (where it might as well be a varsity sport), both of whom likely spent their bus rides home wondering what just happened.

Given permission to enter the event a mere week or two before the trip to Cornell University, Fernandes and Costa started from scratch creating their routine. Drawing on their past experiences, they just wanted to do a good job and in the process not embarrass themselves or their teammates. Wayne Magee, 7 CO’s Commanding Officer who’s been doing this for a while knows what an almost unprecedented accomplishment this is for two freshman from any school, not just MMA, to do this. “It was nothing fancy, but they stayed within themselves and their routine was consistent, solid, and almost flawless. Both cadets were just very, very good at what they were doing, and the judges saw that.”

Both cadets agree that this “victory” is a lot bigger than they are, and are quick to point out all of the support they’d received. “A medal was the farthest thing from our minds…the day of we were up so early and plain nervous, shaking, wondering how we’d get through it,” both recount, still in disbelief about they’ve done. “We owe a lot to our teammates and Company leaders. Even though the medals were around our necks, they’re all a part of this.”