When to Raise and Lower the American Flag

Flag NomenclatureI received these questions just a short time ago.

1. At the beginning of the work day (duty day) when raising the U.S. flag in conjunction with a state flag which one is flown first? I believe it to be the U.S. flag.
Answer: Per the Flag Code, the American flag is always raised first.

2. When lowering the flags at the end of the day which one is lowered first? U.S. or state flag?
Answer: Per the Flag Code, the American flag is always lowered last. The state flag is lowered and gathered into someone’s arms and then the American is lowered and gathered. Both can be folded at the same time.

3. In a ceremony such as a high school graduation should the National Anthem be performed before or after the Pledge of Allegiance?
Answer: The National Anthem is played while the flag is being raised or when the color team (guard) posts to the front of the auditorium. The Pledge of Allegiance is recited after the flag is raised or when the color team posts to the front of the auditorium in place of the Anthem. There is no need for both the Anthem and Pledge. One or the other suffices.

Service Drill Teams Attend Annual Training Camps

Each year around the end of February and the beginning of March, each of the service drill teams (Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force- not sure about the Coast Guard*), leave their duty station and head out to train for about 30 days to work on the upcoming season’s routine.

USMC SDP Challenge DayBefore the teams leave for training there is a challenge time or, at least for the Marine Corps, Challenge Day. Honor guard members wishing to be a member of the team can perform the drill team’s manual, which they have practiced for weeks, and be graded in the hope to make a performing spot on the season’s team.

The Army, Navy and Air Force Silent Drill Teams, separately, go to different installations around the country and the Silent Drill Platoon along with the Drum and Bugle Corps heads to Yuma, AZ each year.

The photo is courtesy of the Marine Corps and shows a Marine performing for a grade by his inspector.

*Unlike the other service drill teams that have permanent members who are assigned to the team and usually do not have other honor guard duties, the Coast Guard’s honor guard is very small and all honor guard members are cross-trained and certified on the different ceremonial elements. Members volunteer to march on the drill team but the assignment is also part of their regular honor guard duties, so they have double and triple roles to perform in any given day with funerals, VIP arrivals, etc. including drill team practices and performances.

JROTC Cadets Wearing Military Service Accouterments

There is a problem at the JROTC level that really gets on my nerves and it has nothing to do with drill- that I could go on about for a couple hours at least, but at least this website and my books are helping educate cadets and instructors. After all, as I say constantly, “Education is key!”

Speaking of educating, and getting back to the point of this article, there seems to be a severe lack of education with some JROTC instructors regarding the wear of military service items on JROTC uniforms. I’m going to blame a lack of awareness on the part of the instructor(s) since I do not have firsthand knowledge of this.

Base Honor Guard in France

This was taken by a French friend of mine. It shows me as the NCOIC (commander) of the Color Team from Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany. We were rendering honors at the American Military Cemetery in Brittany, France in 2010. As you can see, my colleagues and I are wearing our Base Honor Guard (BHG) badges that we affectionately call the  “Cookie.” Males wear it on the lower left and females wear it on the upper right. I spent 17 years on a BHG in several locations around the world, training, teaching and rehearsing constantly over those years, three of them while retired. After hundreds of hours of working with your Ceremonial Guardsmen, you have a certain attachment to them and the BHG system as a whole. That attachment can be voiced in ‘owning’ a certain portion of that program by calling it, mine.

To my astonishment, I found out that JROTC cadets are wearing “my” Cookie. Not my personal Cookie that I still have on my Ceremonial uniform, but “my” Cookie nonetheless.

All service JROTCs strictly forbid the wear of any item that an Active Duty, Reserve or National Guard member wears. This includes several colors of berets, ribbons, medals, job qualification badges, wings, tabs, etc. JROTC cadets cannot and should not wear any of these items because they are not in the military. Period. The same goes for my Cookie. Yes, it is not mine specifically, but as I stated earlier, I have a certain attachment to the BHG.

In this specific case, what does it take to be authorized to wear the BHG Cookie? Graduation from USAF Basic Training, graduation from a Technical School (A-School for you non-AF types) assignment to at least your first installation, assignment to the BHG and graduation from your installation’s 100+ hour BHG training program. Therefore, it is impossible for a JROTC or any other cadet to earn and wear the badge without it being along the lines of Stolen Valor. Yes, this is a serious issue.

If your JROTC unit cadets wear any kind of military service item, please stop right now. Your integrity is now at stake, by reading this article, you now know that if you are wearing a BHG cookie or any other device it is absolutely wrong.

There are many creative ways to help set apart cadets who are on drill team, color team or what a unit might call honor guard: shoulder cord, aiguillette, uniform stripes, distinctive ribbons, etc. Click here for more ideas.

ROTC (college) is a little different. Contracted college cadets are considered “Third Lieutenants” and as such wear the service uniform within the guidelines of their service’s dress and appearance manual.

Military schools have some different standards as well to go along with their distinctive uniforms, just like the service academies.

Let us not forget the distinctive uniform items of  Military Cadets (Army), Patriot Youth Corps (Army), Young Marines, Civil Air Patrol, Sea Cadets and Sea Scouts. None of these programs allows their cadets to wear distinctive uniform items from their services except when specifically noted in their manual.

And then there are the Police and Fire Explorer Cadets. I think that takes care of all of the cadet programs. But each has it’s own uniform, rank, ribbons, etc. They do not take from the military services something which is blatantly not authorized for wear by anyone else.

No one else except Tomb Guards wear their badge. No one else except the USAF Honor Guard wears the AFHG metal cookie. I think I’ve made my point.

“But other JROTC units are doing it.” This statement does not have a point. Stop doing the wrong thing and educate others.

What it all comes down to is not wearing anything distinctive on a JROTC uniform that is only meant for Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen or Coast Guardsmen. Please, do the right thing.

Army JROTC/NDCC Instructors and Cadets should read Army Regulation 145–2 and Cadet Command Regulation 145-2.

Marine Corps JROTC/NDCC Instructors should read the MCJROTC Instructor Handbook and Instructors and Cadets should read MCO P1533.6.

Navy JROTC/NDCC Instructors and Cadets should read NAVEDTRA 37116-H.

Army JROTC/NDCC Instructors and Cadets should read AFJROTC Instruction 36-2001.

Coast Guard CPJLP (JROTC)/MAST/NDCC Instructors and Cadets should read- I can’t find anything as of yet .

NDCC stands for National Defense Cadet Corps. An NDCC unit is just like a JROTC unit but it does not meet certain requirements, most likely student enrollment, and the school district picks up the tab for everything.

Announcing the First Annual Rebel Rifle Review!

Drill team training and honor guard training at its best!

This Review will be just like a drill meet, just like performing at a competition, but you get live feedback while the performance is going on with a downloadable MP3 DrillMaster Performance Critique.

Rebel Rifle CorpsWho can enter the review?

Armed and Unarmed:

  • Drill Teams (Exhibition and Regulation Sequences)
  • Squads/Elements (Exhibition and Regulation Sequences)
  • Tetrads (4- or 5-man*)
  • Tandems (2-man*)
  • Color Guards

All of the standard drill meet rules apply for your service. Along with the Performance Critique, your team will also receive a score in the World Drill Association Adjudication System. That score will correlate with written definitions for the score range meaning, you will be able to read what the team is doing well and what needs improvement.

To submit a video of one or all of the above performances, upload them to YouTube and post it on this Facebook page: Facebook.com/Rebtosuccess for the month of March- yes, the whole month! As they are uploaded, The DrillMaster will watch, rate and comment on the routines, upload the MP3 files and then link to them here at this website and also in the above mentioned Facebook group.

You may upload a video that is/was made between 14 Feb 15 to 28 Mar 15. Direct all questions to the Review Director, Cadet Michael Nicholson, at the Facebook group.

Keep Drilling

By DrillMaster Guest Writer: C/CSM Daira M. Padilla
Charles H. Milby High School JROTC 4th BN

Milby jrotcIt’s 4:00 in the afternoon, drill team practice started at 3:30, “can we get a water break?” asks one of the drill team members. “You sure can…NOT!” states the commander. The Charles H. Milby High School drill teams have an upcoming competition, the goal: BE CHAMPIONS.

There was a move, our original school building is getting renovated, for that reason we had to temporary move to another building, with this move we lost about 40% of our school population, and with that loss we also lost drill team members. Recruiting was the first option, “we’ll recruit and get enough people”. Didn’t happen. Yes we recruited people, however not enough to fulfill the requirement of 13 people for exhibition drill. But who said that was going to stop us? Just the year before we were the only school in our district, the only school in our city to attend the National High School Drill Team Championship in Daytona Beach, Florida. We attended and we placed, being national champions, a lack of people is not a problem. People told us we couldn’t do it, our school is not necessarily the wealthiest, we didn’t have a fancy drill deck, we practiced in the student parking lot.

Practice is one of the greatest things when it comes to being on the drill team. However to get to the level of “practice” it takes that moment when you ask yourself if you really want it, if you want it from the heart, if it’s your passion. If you answer “no” to any of those, then drill team is not for you. Practice, it is such a simple word isn’t it? Well PRACTICE is not simple, not easy, but it sure is the best. Hot sunny days when you have to take off your shirt and just leave a muscle shirt on, seeing the sweat roll down your eyebrow as you stand at attention, feeling your hands sweaty and nasty, begging for the time to come when we get that break to drink that well-earned ice-cold water bottle. Then there’s the cold days, having to put on your hoodie with a wind breaker on top, wearing extra socks, ear warmers and everything you can to prevent you from freezing.

Practice doesn’t mean hanging around, it means making the best out of every second, blisters, bruises from the weapon or from doing unarmed drill moves. Practice means, “we need to get on sync or we need to go home”. Getting those thirty-inch steps right and that 45-degree angle perfected. Practice means we are aiming for perfect. Still the one goal: BE CHAMPIONS.

Now competition is another of the best parts of being on the drill team. “As soon as you get off of the bus, you are to carry yourself as champions, march with your head held high and DO NOT look around”, words that have been passed on by Milby JROTC drill team commanders to the team members as they exit the bus for competition.

The inspection phase comes first. There is nothing like intensity of a drill sergeant screaming at you while you stand at attention, the sarcasm in his questions thinking he will break your bearing. Little does he know, you have been preparing for this moment longer than he thinks. However it is not just that, it’s your uniform being perfectly ironed, those straps that itch but make you look good, it’s the whole day you took to fix your uniform and last but not least, the weeks you studied a packet of questions to only get asked 3. But the main thing is FOCUS and CONFIDENCE, if you have those two, it will not matter that your “enemy” school is looking at you as you get inspected, because you know that you are making them intimidated. It’s just 7 minutes long and those 7 minutes are the most intense in your whole lifetime.

Regulation phase is the second phase of competition most of the time, here is when every marching detail counts, perfection in 30 inch steps, alignment while marching, looking straight ahead at all times, making sure you don’t step out of the boundaries, the intensity of regulation drill is the best intensity you can feel. My first year on the drill team I had two goals only, to take the commander position for the upcoming year and to be better than my then-current commander. This year I am the regulation commander and I got first place over all commanders of my district. As I said before, if you have focus and motivation you will get anything you want.

Yeah, I bet as you read that you remembered the ripple line moves you and you team were working on. Exhibition is almost as it sounds, exciting! Whether you are tossing a Quad or a Rising Sun with your weapon, a mock weapon or demil, or you are slapping your legs and arms or stomping your feet for an unarmed sequence, all of it is exciting, without a doubt you will end up begging for a drink. But we all know that in the end, the counts, memorizing the sequence and perfecting synchronization will ALL be worth it.

The competitive level of military drill is expressed in one word: INTENSE. In the end when the results come in and you realize how you’ve done, the happiness is extreme when you find out you placed, but it doesn’t stop there, it shouldn’t stop there. You are to always strive to make yourself and your team better. Drill is a hobby in high school, it will pay you, either indirectly by the life lessons you have learned, or directly: there are those who have gone on to the ever-emerging post-high school, professional level. You, keep doing what you love, KEEP DRILLING!

Fred Moore recalls duty as first black Honor Guard at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

CLEVELAND, Ohio — This chapter of Black History Month will unfold in a 21-count cadence, because that was once the rhythm of duty for the first black American to serve on the Honor Guard for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

For eight months in 1961, Fred Moore, now 79, of Cleveland, literally walked the walk at the memorial, also known as the Tomb of the Unknowns. The tomb honors the unidentified remains of three combatants from World War I, World War II and the Korean War.

Moore was part of an elite unit that guards the tomb 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Living and working by the “21s.”

Twenty-one steps south, symbolizing the highest military honor that can be bestowed — a 21-gun salute. Turn and face east for 21 seconds. Turn and face north, changing weapon to outside shoulder, always on the side closest to visitors, signifying that the guard stands between the tomb and any possible threat.

Wait 21 seconds, take an equal number of steps down the black mat, turn to face east, turn to face south, change weapon shoulder, wait, repeat process. Again and again until relieved.

 Fred Moore remembers duty as first black guard at Tomb of the Unknown SoldierFred Moore, 79, of Cleveland, looks back on his Army service that included duty as the first black member of the Honor Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in 1961.

Always focused, never distracted, even by the calls of pretty girls or the tears of old vets. Through rain, snow and summer heat. Nothing breaks that concentration unless somebody crosses the chain line separating visitors from the tomb.

Moore never envisioned that duty would be how he’d wind up serving his country when he was drafted in 1959.

The 1956 graduate of East Technical High School was working at a supermarket when the draft notice arrived. Moore was initially irked by the call.

“I’d been working and a lot of guys that I knew weren’t working. They were hanging around the pool room and things like that,” he recalled. “I just felt it was unfair.”

And a little daunting, too, for a guy who’d never been outside Ohio. “It just seemed like I was going to another planet,” Moore said.

The 6-foot, 185-pound recruit scored high during initial training tests and was asked if he’d be interested in joining a unit of the Third Infantry Division, known as the Old Guard (or Honor Guard).

Moore said he was told it was a real spit-and-polish outfit, but otherwise “I didn’t have a clue as to what it was. I said OK, not giving it much thought.”

While he enviously watching others in his training group shipped overseas to posts in Korea and Germany — “I really wanted to go to Germany, he said — Moore was sent to Fort Myer, Virginia, for Honor Guard training.

He initially served in the unit that provides rifle salutes for graveside services at Arlington. The company also served at receptions for visiting foreign dignitaries and other ceremonial duties.

Moore said he marched in the inauguration parade for President John F. Kennedy, and also had duty at Kennedy’s inaugural ball where “I got to see a lot of people I probably wouldn’t have gotten a chance to see otherwise, all the big wheels and leaders in Congress.”

Kennedy had a role in Moore’s assignment to the unit guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Moore said when the president brought Ghana President Kwame Nkrumah to a wreath-laying ceremony at the tomb, Nkrumah asked Kennedy why none of the guards were people of color.

“Next thing I know I was told to get my stuff, I was going to the tomb guard platoon,” Moore said.

He was not aware that he was the first black soldier to serve in that unit until Ebony magazine did a story about him a few months later.

“It never dawned on me. I just assumed that somebody had been out there,” Moore said. “I never, in my wildest dreams, ever thought I was the first.”

The distinction didn’t make him nervous. Just doing the job right, all the time, every time, did.

The hardest part was “just maintaining your focus, because if you messed up, you were relieved,” Moore said.

He’d concentrate on the 21 counts, over and over, paying no heed to the women who would shout out, giving him their names, hotels and phone numbers. Moore said he could totally block that out, but as soon as he went off duty, every detail of those shouts would come rushing back to him.

He never took the girls up on their invitations. He’d gotten married while in the Guard to his wife of 54 years now, Joyce, whom he met through his sister back home.

Only once did he break that 21-count concentration, when a small child ducked under the chain separating visitors from the tomb. “I had to challenge him, and he got out in a hurry,” Moore recalled.

That challenge? “It is requested that all visitors remain outside the chain. Would the parents of this child please remove him from the chain.”

“It’s easier now because they moved the chain back. When I was there, you could walk up and touch me,” Moore said.

Sometimes they didn’t have to be close to touch him. Often there were emotional reactions among visitors to the tomb, “especially with some of the older guys who I guess were in World War I or World War II,” Moore said. “You could see some of the guys in tears.”

All in a day’s work. Or night, when Moore said the gleam of the surrounding marble in the moonlight illuminated his surroundings. He never found it eerie to work at night, but there were times when he could feel he was being watched.

“Even though the cemetery is closed, you’ve still got a procedure that you have to do,” Moore said. Some guards didn’t and got caught, he noted.

The best part of his duty was the camaraderie of other guards in the unit, Moore said. “Those guys were tremendous. They could have made it hard for me, but we’re still great friends to this day,” he said.

When his service contract ended, Moore was ready to put down that 10-pound rifle and heavy wool dress uniform. “I was ready to get back home and get my family started,” he said.

He and Joyce raised a son and a daughter, and now have five grandchildren. After the Army, Moore worked for Sherwin-Williams in Cleveland, and then for the Cuyahoga County administration until he retired.

He regularly returns to Arlington for Honor Guard reunions held every other year. He recalled being surprised at the first reunions he attended, when he was constantly greeted by younger guards and approached with requests for his photo.

Moore soon discovered that he had become part of the test questions for Honor Guard recruits who had to name the first black member of the unit.

Nowadays he looks back on his Honor Guard service with a mixture of pride and gratitude. When asked if he set a precedent for future black Honor Guard members, Moore said, “I hope so. It seemed like I tried to do it in such a professional way that they wouldn’t have any excuse to deny somebody else from coming in.”

And above all there was that feeling that marched with him.

“It was special to me because of those guys (buried at Arlington),” Moore said. “Those guys were the real heroes to me, the guys who sacrificed their lives.

“That was the main thing, honoring them.”

Twenty-one steps at a time.

Source: www.cleveland.com

See on Scoop.itDrillCenter eMagazine

Beating a Performance Plateau with New and Improved!

new-improvedDo you know why products are constantly puting new labels on them with words like: “NEW!” or “NEW and IMPROVED!” Comfort. We become comfortable with the things we have or use and we may be happy with using XYZ dish washing liquid for the rest of our lives, but the advertisers want to make sure you can’t live without it! new-improved2Our society is driven on making people uncomfortable with whatever they have so that they feel they must have the latest version or the newest outfit.

new-improvedThis also applies to a solo or drill team performance. Comfort can set in part-way in the season and, while we may not notice it, the performance can become a little “lackluster.” This is called a plateau. Think of a hilltop, you can’t go any higher- or so you may think.

So, how can we prevent this?

Schedule a break or three during the season- but stay together. You must keep team camaraderie and cohesion going strong and having team members going off in different directions will work against that. Cut a practice short and do something fun as a team: have a BBQ and play games, do something that doesn’t include drill, but do it as a team. Are you a soloist? Spend time on another hobby or with family instead of a full practice.

Change something in the routine- This is the New and Improved! part of the solution. A slight change (new drill sets, increase/decrease tempo, different direction to face, a slight pause here, etc.) to a certain part or parts can make a world of difference.

Renewed focus- When a drill team performs, the team members are displaying simultaneous responsibilities* and, depending on the performers’ experience, those responsibilities could be many. And that gets tiring both physically and mentally. Renewed forcus is when you say to the team (or yourself, after watching video of your practices), that their hand position at this point or their feet at that point need to be this or that way, better posture. Something else to consider.

*Those responsibilities include, but are not limited to: posture, arms swing and angle, step height, foot direction and angle, alignment forward and to each side, drill set memorization, staying in step; hand, arm, foot and equipment work, etc., etc.

Astronaut War Eagle Drill Meet Performance Critiques

MIHS at War Eagle first place over all 2015Astronaut High School’s Army JROTC hosted the 2015 War Eagle Drill Meet at their school in Titusville, FL on the 21st of February. I judged Unarmed Squad, used a new score sheet as a trial and recorded my usual commentary as the performances progressed.

These recordings are standard in pageantry arts with music and visual judges giving feedback. My recordings are the first of their kind for the Military Drill World.

The picture is of Merritt Island High School AJROTC with their trophies, including first place over all. I’m proud of my cadets! Actually, I’m proud of all of the teams that have taken their time to learn and then practice. It can be a tough road, but the journey is well worth the effort! It was great to see Palm Bay High School’s MCJROTC teams perform this morning and to judge alongside a Marine again.

I must apologize, my introduction to each of the teams sounds just fine, but after that, you cannot hear me. The commander’s voices are clear, I have no idea what went wrong. Again, I am very sorry that you won’t be able to download and listen to my critiques.

In any event, look at the new score sheet that you were given today. See how this begins to get the judges thinking of the performance as a whole and, most importantly, thinking in the positive: teams start with zero and build up based on their performance. The other sheet has you starting with a number (400-something) and taking points off each time a “mistake” is made. Negative scoring doesn’t allow anyone to learn.



How to plan and coordinate a Color Guard Event

Today, DrillMaster has a guest author!

Hello fellow drill mates,

3-07 CAP Color Guard Comp_ 006This article will talk about the steps to planning and coordinating a Color Guard event! To give you a little bit of information about myself, I am Alex Pantaleo, a Cadet 2nd Lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol. I have attended the Pennsylvania Wing Honor Guard Academy in 2013, then staffed it in 2014. Out of CAP I am a sophomore at Freedom High School, and a student athlete. My goals are to attend West Point and become an Infantry Officer. Enough about me let us get to the article!

Step 1:

Pick a Venue

Pick a venue that suits your needs, I tend to look for events, such as sporting events, where I can recruit new members. I tend to look for events that some of our other members can go to and participate in. While the color guard is presenting the colors, the other cadets can help with the recruiting table. Those are some things to look for when selecting a venue.

Step 2:

Call the venue with help from senior members or higher-ranking cadets

After you have picked your venue, let us say a minor league baseball game, you must contact the special events coordinator. Ask if there are any dates open to present the colors for the National Anthem, and possibly set up a recruiting table somewhere in the park, or just contact another venue. Always remember to give yourself enough time to prepare when picking a date!

Step 3:

Get your color guard together and properly train them.

When contacting a special events coordinator and getting the “OK,” ensure your color guard is already fully trained since you never know what kind of lead-time you will have. The team must follow your service’s drill and ceremonies manual.

Step 4:

Contact the special events coordinator the day before the event

This is to confirm that you are still doing the event and to show that you are responsible. Check to make sure all uniforms and equipment are ready to go. Having a checklist will help the team to not forget a thing.

Step 5:

Arrive 1 hour early the day of the event.

It’s the big day, get to the venue at least an hour early to meet with the coordinator and get “Show Ready,” as I call it. The coordinator should show you a very important aspect of your day, the terrain; where you will start, if there are any low-clearance areas, the spot to where the team will march and to where the team will return, if different. Double-check uniforms and equipment; practice it once or twice as early as possible so the public sees your performance and not the rehearsal. Change into your full uniforms and at ten minutes prior to performing, line up out of the way at Parade Rest. You could also get to the venue a day early, with permission from the events coordinator, to practice.

Step 6:

Perform the event

It’s showtime! You are fully trained and have practiced so call commands loudly and correctly and perform all movements sharp and crisp; be safe and have fun!

Step 7:

Just after the performance,

Thank the event coordinator in person, and help your cadets with the recruiting table.

Step 8:

Perform an After Action Report/Hot Wash with Senior Members or higher-ranking cadets.

Even if it you just talk about the event and how you could improve on it, this is just to ensure that you do not repeat any mistakes!

Thank you all for reading and I hope this can help you better plan your next color guard event!

Training and Education for Drill Teams and Honor Guard Units

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