Woodbridge JROTC marksman aiming to be a firefighter

GREENWOOD – After high school graduation, Justin Minton’s career aim is to be a firefighter.

As a member of Woodbridge High School’s Marine Corps Junior ROTC program, he has got precise aim in marksmanship.

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Junior Justin Minton, a top marksman as captain of the Woodbridge High School Marine Corps Junior ROTC Marksmanship Team, is aiming to be a firefighter after graduation.


The 17-year-old junior from Greenwood qualified for the 2015 JROTC Regional Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio after shooting his personal best marksmanship score – 260 out of 300 – in the 2015 JROTC National Postal Competition.

In February, Justin traveled to Camp Perry to compete in an air rifle marksmanship contest against more than 800 competitors from across the United States.

The competition was held Feb. 14-15, culminating with the top eight competitors from each JROTC branch of service shooting shoulder-to-shoulder.

With a two-day score of 1053 out 1200, Justin earned sixth place in the finals.

“The thing that Justin has going for him that makes him so competitive is how well he manages his mind,” said Chief Warrant Officer (Ret.) Darron Todd, Marine Instructor at Woodbridge High School. “So he has got the mental management piece down. He doesn’t let anything going on around him affect him. He only focuses on what he has got to do; that shot at that moment. After he has taken that well-aimed shot then he can focus on the other stuff around him. And when he is ready to take the next shot, he blocks it all out again and only focuses on that.”

Mental management, CWO Todd says, cannot be taught.

“And that, unfortunately, I cannot teach,” said CWO Todd. “The fundamentals, the position, how to hold the rifle, how to align the sights, how to adjust the sights – all of those things can be taught. The mental management piece cannot be taught. It has to be learned over time and he has learned it. That’s why he is good at it.”

After a very close final match, Justin ended up in sixth place with a final score of 1142.6; 33 of Justin’s 130 shots were perfect 10’s, narrowly missing a national placing.

“Although his final score was not high enough to net a place in the National Championship Competition, we are very proud of his accomplishment and very grateful that his parents, David and Melody Minton, were there to share in his accomplishment and enjoy this competition,” said Woodbridge Assistant Superintendent Jason Cameron.

Justin, in his third year with the Woodbridge Marine Corps JROTC, is the captain of the marksmanship team.

Outside of high school and JROTC, Justin is active in his community as a junior member of the Greenwood Volunteer Fire Company.

“He is going to pursue a career as a professional firefighter,” said CWO Todd. “He wants to be a paid firefighter, of course, but if he is not able to find that he is going to continue his role with the Greenwood Fire Company. He does great things for his community now. He’ll continue doing great things for them.”

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