The DrillMaster DrillUp! Clinic

DrillUp! Movement Clinic
DrillUp! Movement Clinic

I’ve been teaching in various official capacities since 1986 and since 2009, I’ve been teaching various elements of what I have developed into a formal clinic for cadets, mainly, and JROTC instructors. The best news is that the clinic is free! I teach it to JROTC units as I travel the country instructing first responder ceremonial units.

The text of the flyer that I created is below and you can download the flyer at my Downloads page under the heading DrillMaster University. The best thing to do is get cadets from all over your area to attend the clinic that last three to five hours, depending on how many cadets attend.

What you get in the clinic:

  • Command voice principles
  • Movement mechanics and principles
  • Effort qualities
  • An understanding of unarmed exhibition movement
  • An introduction to armed exhibition movement
  • Teamwork activities

What does it take to host a clinic?

  • A gymnasium or some place similar
  • Access to an electrical outlet is helpful

What do the cadets need to bring?

  • Water and snacks for the breaks
  • Sturdy shoes for marching
  • Comfortable clothing
  • Any kind of drill rifle

What is the price for cadets?

  • A positive attitude
  • A Desire to learn
  • A willingness to improve
  • $0

How many cadets can attend?

  • 20 minimum, up to 100

 

All About the Firing Party

The Nellis AFB Honor Guard Firing Party
The Nellis AFB Honor Guard Firing Party

The Firing Party
(Information taken from the book, The Honor Guard Manual (Second Edition).) All military services use the firing party for memorials and funerals. Law enforcement agencies also use the firing party to render honors.  “Ah yes, the 21-Gun Salute!” I hear you say. My reply: Stop right there! Only Army and Navy cannons fire the 21-Gun salute. A firing party does not fire 21 guns, they have rifles and fire the Three-Volley Salute. Your reply: “But, seven people fire the rifles three times and 7 x 3 = 21. Like I said, they fire rifles, not guns (guns are cannons). Please read on. Click here to read about firing the Three-Volley Salute. And here to read more.

The equipment used on a military firing party is either the M1 Garand or the M14, the more ceremonial rifles that have a charging handle. The M1903 has a bolt that makes for an awkward charge. Sometimes the M16 or similar modern rifle is used. Law enforcement agencies use anyone of the above or they use the shotgun. There are even teams that use a handgun! NOTE: Members of a firing party DO NOT take aim. Taking aim is called “shooting”, firing party members “fire”. Firing party members do not raise the rifle or shotgun to the shoulder (it rests under the elbow or under the armpit) and do not angle the head down to sight the weapon. Firing party members look over the end of the barrel.

The firing party is 50-75 paces from the head of the casket in full view of the family. The Three-Volley Salute is fired over the casket and subsequently over the family. At an indoor memorial service, the firing party would be directly outside the doors of the chapel about 20 paces away (if possible) so that if the family were to look out of the open chapel doors they would be able to see some of the members firing the salute. Click here for more on taking aim.

The Defense Authorization Act of 2000 mandated the rendering of military honors for all veterans with an honorable discharge. The Full and Standard Honors Funeral has a full complement of eight members – the commander and the seven members who fire. A Modified Funeral also has seven members, however, six of the members perform as pallbearers, present the flag and then move to fire. The Retiree Funeral uses four members to fire the volleys, the commander and this time, three members who fire. Veteran Funeral, does not have an official firing party provided by the military, but many times, a veteran group will take up that responsibility.

Here is a playlist of service firing party techniques.

 

AFMAN 36-2203 “Does not Promote Success”

While there are a couple other definitions of success, they don’t fit our purpose which is learning and effectively executing military drill. Here is my preferred definition.

Success: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose

Air Force Manual (AFMAN) 36-2203 is the US Air Force’s drill and ceremonies manual. The quoted text in the title is what an individual wrote to me. That individual wrote for an organization, we can then take this statement to be the official position for that organization. Actually, the statement was, “The AFMAN simply doesn’t set one up for success by design”, but that was too long for the title of this article.

We can infer from this ignorant statement that this individual (and the organization) believes that the US Air Force purposefully wrote the AFMAN to be so vague so as to not allow for successful completion of the mission. The mission here being learning and effectively executing military drill. Of course, I do not believe that for one instant as that is a ludicrous premise! Allow me to refute this unfounded claim.

First, just for fun, let’s read the first paragraph of AFMAN 36-2203 (2013) and then we will proceed with the refutation.

1.1.1. Units or organizations required to drill under arms will use the procedures in US Army Field Manual 22-5, Drill and Ceremonies, SECNAV 5060.22, Marine Corps Drill and Ceremonies Manual, or Air Force Academy Cadet Wing Manual 50-5. The types of weapon used will determine the appropriate manual.

It’s like the Air Force designed the manual to be used with other manuals instead of reinventing the wheel. Imagine that. In the above quote, we need to update the referenced manuals to the current versions which I will do below. So, let’s continue.

A Little History
afman-36-2203-dc-1996-colorsI spent 20 years in the Air Force (85-05) and for four years before that, I was a member of my high school’s AFJROTC program. In my high school days (79-83), we had to learn AFR 50-14 (now AFMAN 36-2203), Drill and Ceremonies, which has not changed much since then.

After the USAF was created as its own uniformed service on September 18, 1947, it went from using Army Regulations to writing and using it’s own. When it came to drill and ceremonies the newly created service looked at the Marine Corps and Army drill manuals and chose from what it considered the best from each. One thing the USAF left out was information for the rifle. Why? Because the Army had already accomplished that task with, FM 22-5 (now TC 3-21.5), and Airmen did not have a daily use for rifles like Soldiers and Marines. We march, so the USAF creating a drill and ceremonies manual was logical.

What did Airmen do for ceremonial rifle information? We had copies of FM 22-5 and used the manual of arms there. Simple, especially when the pictures of AF color guards had the guards wearing sidearms (the above image from 1996). Using both manuals is even what every Base Honor Guard unit did across the Air Force before the USAF Honor Guard took over that program in the late 90s and created and Air Force-wide ceremonial standard. Notice in the picture above the use of the right arm to hold the flagstaff.

colorsToday, the pictures in the AFMAN include guards armed with rifles. However, the pictures only show technique for Order, Parade Rest, Right Shoulder (Carry), and Attention. What has never been a concern is how to get the rifle from one position to the other. Why? Because we use TC 3-21.5 for technique, but we use the beginning and ending position techniques of the AFMAN. Again, simple.

There is no reason for Air Force JROTC teams to not march the AFMAN. None, except for untrained judges – who are only briefed about the TC standard.

usaf-right-hand Side note: The picture above, from the 2013 version of the AFMAN, is NOT REVERSED (as the individual wrote to me), the color bearers are just using the wrong arm in the picture – the text says to use the right arm. Also notice the rifles on the outside shoulders. What technique is used here to move to and from the shoulder? Amazingly, the Marine Corps already has this taken care of in their Marine Corps Order P5060-20. Once again, simple.

usaf-armed-drillDisparaging the AFMAN or any other service manual only shows a peculiar unawareness of the concept of military drill standards. JROTC teams need to learn, perfect, and march their service manual. Let them do so.

Cadets, start reading instead of trying to gain your knowledge from this year’s seniors who were taught by last year’s seniors, etc., etc.

First Responder Casket Watch Videos

Here is a playlist of three videos of law enforcement and firefighters learning the solemn technique of casket watch during three different honor guard academies that I’ve taught.

You will notice that the techniques have changed slightly at certain points as my refining process has continued. The last video of the Louisiana LEOs (Oct 2015) is the latest iteration of the technique that I’m most pleased with.

If you use this technique, there are no commands except for the subdued “haaalt” and “step”; it’s all about timing.

Wow, Did I Make a Big Mistake!

Each service used to have its own drill and ceremonies manual and then the Navy opted to use the Marine Corps Order for drill and ceremonies and the Coast Guard and Merchant Marines went along with that. Now, we have three manuals: The Army’s Training Circular 3-21.5; the Corps’ MCO P5060.2; and Air Force Manual 36-2203. You can download the latest versions at my Downloads page, here.

cover-color-team-coachs-manualUsing your service D&C manual as a training tool can be quite cumbersome and difficult, that’s why I created two books, The Color Guard Coach’s Field Manual, DMFM 22-5A, and The Platoon/Flight & Drill Team Coach’s Field Manual, DMFM 22-5B. DMFM stands for DrillMaster Field Manual. Both of these books are available in perfect-bound and spiral bound. The links above take you to the spiral bound book store pages. Both FMs are only 6 inches by 9 inches to fit in a cargo pocket and most of the pages have space for your notes. It’s like having a lesson plan in your pocket. The books are not a rehash of the service D&C manuals, I took only the parts that pertain to cadet daily and competition marching from each service to highlight certain requirements. Each cadet still needs to be familiar with their service manual.

Problem!
I ran into a big problem about three weeks ago (as of this publishing date) and immediately scrambled into action to fix the issue.

What happened?
I blew it. I had the wrong file uploaded as the master contents for the Color Guard FM. That file was more of a place holder while I completed the true master which, I just realized, was incomplete! What a huge oversight on my part!

I have a copy, now what?
If you purchased a copy of the Color Guard FM from www.paradestore.com before October 20th, you should already have been contacted by them and will be shipped a new book immediately. If you purchased a copy of the book from my Lulu bookstore,  before the same date, please contact me here,  I will reply to that email, and all you have to do is send me a picture of you holding the book and your address. I will ship a new book to you right away.

Paradestore’s stocks are updated, the old version is gone and I sincerely apologize for this terrible oversight of mine. I will make every effort to not let it happen again!

To Post or Present, That is the Question

Color Team Center Aisle Post-Present w-Step ExitGeared more toward honor guard units, but cadets can also use this information. With apologies to William Shakespeare…

Color teams have a choice, based on ceremony location, size of the area (room or outside area), size of the audience, and time limit, as to whether the team should “Show-n-Go” or post.

The Show-n-Go
Equipment needed: two sets of colors, floor stands, harnesses and weapons. Either the team brings two sets of colors, or the organization (City Hall, for instance) already has a set pre-posted. That means, the team arrives and hour early, practices a couple times, dresses, and 10 minutes before performance time forms up at Ceremonial at Ease, and, on the cue from the announcer, comes to Attention and Port or Right Shoulder (depending), moves to center, faces the audience, presents the colors, the National Anthem plays or the Pledge of Allegiance is recited, the team assumes Port and departs. That’s it.

See also – All About Posting or Presenting the Colors

Port or Right Shoulder/Carry? It depends on how high the height of the ceiling and if there is adequate room between the front row of the audience and the color team.

More colors pre-posted than presenting? Sometimes this will happen- you present the American and state flags, but the pre-posted flags include several more. You really should present all of the colors that are pre-posted as the standard however, every situation is different and sometimes you just have to play it by ear.

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Posting The Colors
Equipment needed: a single set of colors, harnesses and weapons. The same sequence as above, except that after the presentation, the team executes Port, color bearers turn and post the colors in the stands, reform with the guards and the team departs.

More colors pre-posted than presenting? Hopefully, this will happen very seldom- you present the American and state flags, but there is one or two more pre-posted flags. You really should post all colors without any others being pre-posted. Again, every situation is different and sometimes you just have to play it by ear.

Formal Retrieval of the Colors
This is reserved for extremely formal occasions. You reverse the posting procedure. When the colors are only presented, they are not presented again at the close of a ceremony. If the ceremony is formal enough, you will have posted the colors.

 

 

When to Drape the Deceased

My firefighting friends in California had a great question for me. Here are my thoughts.

What a tragedy to lose a fellow firefighter, emergency medic, or law enforcement officer, let alone a member of the armed forces. However, it does happen and all to often. Since we know that death comes to us all and that it is just a matter of when, it is a good idea to be as prepared as possible. We will concentrate on the earthly traditions following a death, although each individual must give a thought to his everlasting soul before time runs out.

Tradition holds that warriors are draped with the colors under which they fought. That is why our US military service members and veterans have flag-draped caskets. Whether or not one believes, as Marine Corps Major General Smedley D. Butler once said, “War is a racket”, is not the issue. The issue is about rendering respect. Your politics, my politics have zero to do with the situation. This is also why we stand at the appropriate time.

1 Peter 2:17 Show proper respect to everyone.

Romans 13:7 Give to everyone what you owe them: if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

First responders are also “in the fight” in the form of serving the public safety interest on a daily basis. Again, good/bad are not the issue.

Members of the US military receive the American flag. First responders have a choice. If the deceased individual has not made a choice, the family is then asked. If they do not have a preference, the American flag is the default. The choices for first responders are their state and city flags.

NOTE: check your local guidance for any special flag fold procedures. Some states have them, most do not. For any state/municipality without guidance, the rectangle fold is standard, keeping the triangle fold reserved for the American flag. Yes, guidance can dictate the triangle fold.

When?
The question then becomes, when does the body of the deceased get draped with the flag?

AZ "Hotshots"
AZ “Hotshots”

Tragedy struck the Arizona firefighting community a few years ago and it reverberated with firefighters throughout the world. Nineteen firefighters fighting wildfires lost their lives in unimaginable circumstances. This picture is from an unknown source. Some, were horrified that the picture was posted on social media. Read more about that by clicking here. I’m using this photo as an educational example.

Once the dead first responder is discovered, the remains must be moved to a staging area for transportation preparations. At that point, it would be appropriate to cover the remains with a flag. It would also be appropriate to begin Casket Watch at this time.

The deceased do not care, it’s about the family, both relatives and beyond. Showing the utmost care and respect are the best things one can do in these terrible situations. Carrying one or two interment flags (5′ x 9 1/2′) in a vehicle or apparatus is part of preparing for the worst.

There are two types of material for flags, plastic-based and cotton. I highly suggest never giving anything other than a large-star cotton flag to the family. In the field, there is a possibility of the flag becoming soiled. Dry cleaning is perfectly acceptable. If a rayon-type flag is used it is slippery, does not fold well and is quite light. Cotton is heavier. It may be necessary to tuck the flag underneath the body bag or maybe to weight it down with a couple of stones while in the field to prevent it from leaving the remains. While it is not the best situation, I will leave that decision up to those who have to deal with losing a brother- or sister-in arms: do you even place the flag right then and there and does it need weighting down or do you simply wait until the body is in the coroner’s vehicle.

Training and Education for Drill Teams and Honor Guard Units

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