ROTC students practice for competition without star - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

ROTC students practice for competition without star

School ends next week at Wagener-Sally High. Less than 300 kids attend school there and many of them participate in the school's ROTC program.

The program is where Amber Williams met her boyfriend, Chase Ray, who was a rifle spinner.

"He was the number one spinner and I loved watching him spin and it just kind of happened," laughed Williams.

It's also the place where Chase met his best friend, Cadet Blizzard.

"He was a soloist, went out there for a minute, minute-and-a-half doing his thing; tearing it up."

"At practice, I would always say, 'Ok, We'll be alright, Chase Ray is here," said Sgt. Maj. Michael Fowler.  

Chase was so dedicated that a year after graduating, he remained on the team competing as a professional, leading the team.

The career and life of Chase ended on April 19.  He was dropping Williams off when another car hit theirs. She found out while laying in a hospital bed.

"I finally straight up asked, 'Where's Chase?'" said Williams. "And she told me what happened. I blanked out."

As difficult as it was, the ROTC team powered on. They're military and they had a big national competition in Florida.

Two weeks after Chase died, the team rallied.  In the midst of the lowest of lows, a new leader emerged. Cadet Blizzard stepped up.

"It was hard," said Blizzard. "I just kept thinking, 'what would he do? Try to be a great leader.' So that's what I did."

And it worked.  The team won a slew of awards placing among the top teams in the nation.

"These kids are tough kids, but we'll never forget Chase," said Col. Mazie Joye. "He was part of the team, part of the legacy."

They will do that by starting a new team for graduates in his honor.

Even though they are not soldiers yet, they know how to honor the fallen.

"Knowing that they continue with their dreams, Chase's dreams makes me smile, makes me so happy, it does."

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