Lieutenant Colonel Peter Duggan / Captain Joseph Matthews
Sometimes, you do what needs to be done and the "how" can be a bit different as long as the results are there. NEVER has this been more true than looking back on the illustrious careers of both LtCol. Peter Duggan and Captain Joe Mathews.
Taking over the newly established Marine Corps JROTC program in 1979 at Yonkers H.S. (soon after renamed Lincoln H.S.) in Yonkers, New York, expectations of National prominence were never in the eyes of those in and around the program. This hard-changing program was always a solid 100 cadet group located in this generally blue-collar neighborhood in the northern suburbs of New York City but they had never made any real noise nationally on the drill scene. When Captain Joe Mathews came onboard in 1980, you had the unique arrangement of having two military officers running the program. And what did this do? It began a dynasty that dominated drill throughout the Northeastern United States and changed drill & ceremony both locally and nationally.
LtCol. Duggan and Captain Matthews became a team united. They divided up the drill responsibilities maintaining both an armed team and an unarmed team. The program flourished on and off the drill floor. After dominating Marine Corps drill for several years locally and going head to head with all-service greats including the famed LaSalle Military Academy drill program, Lincoln H.S. MCJROTC took their show on the road bringing their excellence to the National High School Drill Team Championships. For over ten years, Lincoln High School competed against the best teams in the nation despite their tiny program size gaining more than their share of team and individual awards.
Both Duggan and Mathews benefited the greater drill community in many ways. They hosted scores of meets over the years attending and dominating over 100 meets together during their tenure together. Their innovation brought forth the Challenge & Masters concept at the Nationals. This bifurcation better allowed small schools with limited numbers or newer programs just getting their drill programs underway the ability to compete on a more fair playing field. They also brought forth new idea regarding drill area entry & event staging, vendor inclusion as well as other important logistical considerations that improved the National Championships as well as other meets they hosted. They were quick to help their colleagues in the region from all services, providing expertise and supplies in some cases to neighboring programs in the hope to build their drill programs and JROTC programs in general. They simply were two of the best ambassadors the sport of competitive drill has ever maintained.
These two officers put forth almost 100 years of total service to the United States Marine Corps in various capacities and they both talked at length about their love and devotion to the cadets and how they used drill as the tool to better these cadets for a lifetime. And despite both of these individuals passing away several years ago, their untarnished legacy lives on within the Drill Hall of Fame! What an
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