Always comfortable in uniform

Published 2:32 pm Thursday, May 27, 2010

Trey Peel wears two types of uniforms.

One is the JROTC uniform he wears whenever he posts colors at events around the county and state, ranging from a monster truck rally to a military academy banquet.

During his junior and senior years, Peel commanded the color guard of Unit AL-932 Airforce JROTC of Thompson High School, which has placed first in the national competition in Montgomery for the past three years.

“I liked all the discipline, it was a way to build better character for myself and I picked up on the marching quickly,” Peel said.

Peel ranks as the No. 1 cadet out of 133 at Thompson for his fitness, bearing and leadership. He even gave the key address at the 2009 Veterans’ Day program, which the JROTC plans for the school every year.

When Peel’s not wearing his JROTC outfit, Peel said he’s in his standard cowboy attire — boots, jeans, a western shirt and giant belt buckle.

“I wear my cowboy hat to and from school,” he explained.

He earned the nickname “Cowboy” early on in his high school career. From the age of 3, he’s spent time at cattle auctions and started showing cows in competitions in the seventh grade. He owns three cows, a bull, a horse, two dogs and his own livestock trailer.

Peel plans to pursue a career as a large animal veterinarian. To do so, he’ll major in forestry and environmental conservation at Mississippi State and then go into their veterinary program in graduate school. He said he hopes to get involved with the ROTC program and the rodeo team at MSU.

Peel describes himself as “fairly different from everyone else” as both a high-ranking JROTC member and a genuine cowboy and said he hopes he can be a role model for younger students.