Alaska’s First Female Rifle Spinner: Seadeira Mano


Erin Rodgers

West Anchorage High School’s very own Seadeira Mano is the first female rifle spinner in Alaska. On January 20th 2018, at Eagle River High School Mano placed 3rd overall in the Eagle River Drill Meet. She represents JROTC Unit AK-033 in the division of Solo Armed Expedition.

During her drill routine, 1st Lieutenant Mano spins a rifle, weighing between 8-10 pounds.  Many maneuvers are done single handedly and include spins and tosses over her head.

Growing up, Mano had been interested in the military and in learning more about the weapons they use.  She is also interested in the traveling that often comes with military service. In middle school, Mano and her cousin wanted to join JROTC because of they were told the ABU’s (camouflage) wear the uniform.  They soon found out that’s not the only uniform JROTC cadets wear; they also wear the dress blues and service dress.

Rifle spinning requires a lot of practice and comes with the potential for injury. Mano was asked why she wanted to keep going after being hit so many times by the rifle during practice. “My fellow cadets, friends and family always tell me to keep going, no matter how hard it is,” she said.

After winning, Mano was happy that she could be an inspiration to girls and show that spinning is not only for boys. Junior Nathan Russell (Mano’s trainer) is also a spinner. He would show her moves to help her get a routine down for her first competition. When Mano went up to spin for the first time, Russell said he was “excited because [he] trained her, [he] got her routine down and then she did it.”

Colonel Strickland, retired United States Air Force, is an instructor at West. Strickland is the SASI (Senior Aerospace Science Instructor) and worked with Mano. He saw how she was developing while spinning. “It was a character boost; I think that she really wanted to do it and had to be pushed a little bit.  I think it was pretty inspiration for all the females in the audience,” he said.