Category Archives: Drill Teams

Information for drill teams of all kinds

The “Silver Brass” of the Silent Drill Platoon

In the late 1970’s, the number one rifle inspector
with the Marine Corps Silent Drill platoon passed on his
brass, or the buttons and emblems from his uniform, to his
successor. The brass continued to be passed on, and over
time, the cleaning and polishing turned the once gold-colored
brass silver.

“Being able to wear the silver brass and to be
privileged to fill the prestigious roll of rifle inspector is
an honor,” said Cpl. Tyler Dutton, the number one rifle
inspector for the SDP. “It took a lot of hard work and
dedication over the past three years to get to this point.
My time will soon be up and it’ll be my turn to pass on the
brass.”

Dutton isn’t the only Marine to display the coveted
silver brass. Each member of his inspection team, or the
Marines that perform during the rifle inspection, display
the brass in their own unique way. The first Marine in the
inspection, or the “single,” has silver slip rings on his rifle.
The next Marine, known as the “throw out,” has a silver
gas tube on his rifle. The last Marine in the inspection, or
the “double,” has a silver charging handle on his rifle. The
inspector himself wears silver buttons, emblems, waist plate
and screw posts.

“Being on the drill team is an honor. Being on the
inspection team is a privilege,” said Dutton. “My team put in
a lot of time and hard work to make it. Knowing the amount
of responsibility they have, they practice every day after
everyone else is done to make sure they are at their best.”
This year was a memorable one for the SDP.

Captains Ted Hubbard and Matt Smith, previous and current
parade commanders, familiarized Col. Christian G. Cabaniss,
commanding officer of the Barracks, with the tradition.
Shortly after, Cabaniss brought it up with Gen. James F.
Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, who then officially
presented the silver brass back to the SDP, reviving the
retired tradition.

When crowds flock to the Marine Corps War
Memorial in Arlington, Va. or pack the seats at the Barracks
for a parade, a sense of history and tradition is clear. What
isn’t are the little details, practices and traditions Marines
cherish most.

“I will never forget the time I have spent on the
platoon with my brothers,” said Dutton. “The silver brass is
the platoons; I’m just the lucky one who gets to wear it.”

From Pass in Review, Apr-Jun 2013, WWW.BARRACKS.MARINES.MIL

A Reading Plan for JROTC Instructors and Cadets

Drill Team TechniqueFor many years now, I’ve received requests from JROTC instructors, especially those recently retired and new to the program, and some highly motivated cadets as to where to begin when teaching/learning drill.

For regulation and color guard drill:
  • Army- Training Circular (TC) 3-21.5. 
  • Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard- Marine Corps Order (MCO)P5060.2
  • Air Force*- Air Force Manual (AFMAN) 36-2203 and TC 3-21.5

*AFJROTC cadets are to use the TC for the manual of arms since cadets use the M1903 rifle almost exclusively (if your unit uses the M14, use the MCO). For color guard, however, beginning and ending positions must look like the AFMAN pictures.

Supplement those with:
 For all exhibition drill applications:
  • Exhibition Drill For The Military Drill Team: Among other information, this book contains a complete foot drill-only routine, albeit quite basic. You can put together the moves listed and explained  into a routine that would contain variety and floor coverage. The armed or unarmed movements are left to you to create.
  • Exhibition Drill For The Military Drill Team, Vol II: More information to help in the creative process in armed and unarmed
  • Training For Military Drill Teams, Color Guards & Judges:  This book replaces the Filling in the Gaps series of books creating a specifically targeted book that includes every article on the DrillMaster Website from 2011 to February 2017, but organized into categories for better study.
  • Exhibition Drill For The Military Drill Team, Vol III, Unarmed Drill Movement: Coming in 2018!
Drill Meet competition judges are not trained, they are briefed. And, it’s not anyone’s fault. Even the judges for Nationals receive a great couple days of briefing, but there is no time to train for any competition, the training needs to be accomplished by each potential judge.
Both of these books are a wealth of knowledge not only for the judge, but for drill team coaches and team members.
  • The World Drill Association Adjudication Manual and Rule Book: This is the professional standard set for judging military drill. This manual is an adaptation of the Winter Guard International Adjudication Manual (with permission) adapted for the Military Drill World.
  • Continuing Education For The WDA Visual Adjudicator: This is a continuation of the training received by judges for Drum Corps International, Bands of America, Winter Guard International, and practically every state pageantry adjudication organization. It’s not just for music judging, it’s for all judging.
If you and your cadets are interested in more advanced applications of their training, I suggest obtaining the following
  • The Honor Guard Manual, Second Edition, spiral bound: An adaptation of the USAF Honor Guard Standard, this manual covers
  • The Honor Guard Manual, Volume II, spiral bound: scheduled for release in early 2018. This book covers specialized ceremonies (ex. dignified transfer of remains at an airport) and elaborates on many details covered in the first volume.

Why is Close Order Drill Necessary in the Armed Forces?

A question from India: Why is drill necessary in the armed forces?

There are three types of drill: Regulation Drill (RD), Exhibition Drill (XD), Ceremonial Drill.

Drill, mainly XD, is life for some, but what about those basic trainees coming into the military. Why do they drill unarmed and even armed?
Close order drill, what we call, RD, instills discipline, timing, teamwork, esprit de corps*, confidence, teamwork, leadership, followership, communication (when teaching), listening, camaraderie, satisfaction in accomplishment, achievement, self-confidence, a certain amount of honor, respect, and it also helps trainees react immediately to commands, all qualities that a Soldier, Marine, Sailor, Airman, and Coast Guardsman needs to accomplish the mission. Adding a rifle into drill helps the trainee become very familiar with that piece of equipment on which their life may rely at some point. The more familiar one is with their weapon, the better able they are to use it.

Drill is very necessary in initial training and as a refresher throughout one’s career.

*It is French for “spirit of the body”, the “body” being an organization or, in this case, a military service and it’s subordinate units.

The Three Types of Respect

And you probably thought there was only one type. I did initially.

Thank you very much to my Facebook friends who chimed in giving me their requested feedback for this article. Very interesting!

I need to make one point very clear, it does not matter what one “thinks” about this subject.

“I think respect is…”

Respect- wrongWhat you think, what I think, does not matter since our thinking is based mostly from experience and training. Please approach this article with a willingness to learn, I did as I researched it and learned more than I thought I would.

From Dictionary.com, these are definitions 3, 4, and 5 of Respect for our purposes:

3. esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability:

ex. I have great respect for her judgment.

4. deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment:

ex. respect for a suspect’s right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly.

5. the condition of being esteemed or honored:

ex. to be held in respect.

I utterly despise the phrase sometimes shoved in our faces:

“Respect is (always) earned, never given.”

My response:

“WRONG!”

But why?

Respect- wrongSwimming around in my mind for some time now is the theory that some may confuse trust and respect. My thinking was along the lines of: respect is given and trust is earned. I thought it may be a possibility just as some misconstrue sex and love. I was also trying to identify the likelihood of there being three different types of respect, but I just could not nail it down nor did I have the time to begin the research. More on this in a moment, back to the phrase I dislike so much.

Respect is (always) earned. I can understand earned respect; it is the use of the absolute, always, that I do not agree with. Sometimes “always” is not used. Still, something about the idea of “earnable/losable” bugs me; basic respect must still be there, regardless of earned/lost.

Never given. This part of the statement is another absolute. It is the portion of the phrase that gives me difficulty because its application is so broad and, like an infection, can spread and destroy. The destruction is of relationships, organizations, and, ultimately, a country.

Why is respect never given? What good reason could there be for it? That reason does not exist, in a sense, as we shall see.

What we now know so far:

If

“Respect is (always) earned”

Then

Some sort of action must take place, which means it is impossible for perfect strangers, upon meeting, to “earn” each other’s respect.

Respect

The Three Types of Respect
Dr. Steven Ater to the rescue. He wrote about The Three Types of Respect here. I’ve provided my take on the first two types.

  1. The Respect of Personhood
    • Definition: each person, who was made in the image of God, has innate worth
    • Example: Matthew 7:12 is the quote from scripture that is most often described as the Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. There is also Romans 12:10, Philippians 2:3, Titus 2:7, and 1 Peter 2:17, just to name a few verses out of many that speak of respect for people, regardless of how you feel about them.
  2. The Respect of Authority
  3. The Respect of Honor
    • Definition and Example: “When we grant someone the Respect of Honor we are recognizing their excellence in some quality or qualities and tend to defer to them within these areas of excellence (but not generally outside those areas of excellence). Respect of Honor involves a great deal of trust and much hurt can be done if they abuse that trust.” –Dr. Ater

Offered or Earned?
Now that we have a definition that gives us the three types of respect, let’s delve in further to see what can be earned and lost.

  1. The Respect of Personhood
    • Should be given, no matter what you feel or think
    • This type is “earned” by being born and it cannot be lost. Having said that, it is a type that can only be given. This is where selfishness plays a big part. Due to selfishness, this type of respect, for some, is rarely given.
    • This includes parents which extends to everyone who is one’s elder. Of the Ten Commandments, number five is the only one to include a result of following that rule: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
  2. The Respect of Authority
    • Should be given, no matter what you feel or think
    • This type is “earned” by appointment to a position and, just like the Respect of Personhood, selfishness again rears its ugly head. Again, due to selfishness, this type of respect, for some, is rarely given.
  3. The Respect of Honor
    • This is the only type of respect that is earned and lost.

This brings up a very good question:

Is disrespect tantamount to not showing respect?

Another definition from Dictionary.com, this time for the word, Disrespect.

Noun
Lack of respect; discourtesy; rudeness.

Verb (used with object)
to regard or treat without respect; regard or treat with contempt or rudeness.TResearching “disrespect and not showing respect”, Macmilliandictionary.com gave me a very interesting way to define this phrase. The following words came up to help give a more rich understanding of what disrespect and not showing respect might be:

  • Scorn, noun, a feeling that someone or something is not good enough to deserve your approval or respect
  • Disdain, noun, the feeling that someone or something is not important and does not deserve any respect
  • Contempt, noun, a failure to show appropriate respect for something that other people consider to be important
  • Disregard, noun, the attitude of someone who does not respect something or consider it important
  • Contemptuous, adjective, showing that you do not respect someone or something at all
  • Derogatory, adjective, showing that you have a bad opinion of something or someone, usually in an insulting way
  • Derisive, adjective, showing that you think someone or something is stupid, unimportant, or useless
  • familiarity breeds contempt, used for saying that you can stop respecting someone or something when you know them very well

Synonyms of Disrespect (thesaurus.com. Highlighted word, mine)

Noun: disregard, rudeness toward someone

contempt

boldness

coarseness

discourtesy

dishonor

flippancy

hardihood

impertinence

impiety

impoliteness

impudence

incivility

Insolence

irreverence

sacrilege

insolency

insolentness

lack of respect

unmannerliness

Antonyms of Disrespect (thesaurus.com)

courtesy

humility

manners

politeness

respect

reverence

civility

esteem

honor

regard

It is clear to me that “not showing respect”, as benign as one may think it to be, is actually being disrespectful. Anything but respect is, in essence, disrespect. I am convinced and convicted.

The great thing about a new day and even a new year is that we get a chance to begin again. We can even ask others for forgiveness. Whether that person forgives us or not, we still need to show them respect based on the Respect of Personhood (and Authority, if applicable), even if the respect we offer is not returned.

The “Flake Monster” at Obama’s Farewell

It happens to the best. It’s called “Flaking” in the Ceremonial World. You hydrate, eat well, exercise and you don’t lock your knees, but all of the sudden, after standing for two-and-a-half hours, your vision pinpoints, you feel light headed and BAM! you are out cold on the ground. It’s physical, it’s mental, and it’s physiological.

Flake Monster
The Flake Monster. Soldier of the Old Guard passes out

It is quite possible that this Soldier is not to blame. He most likely did everything he was supposed to. Then again, even having a beer or two the night before can ruin your ceremonial day.

Prevention:

  1. Don’t lock your knees which restricts blood flow. Stand on the center of your feet, not your heels, which contributes to locking the knees.
  2. Eat well.
  3. Exercise often– aerobic and anaerobic.
  4. Get plenty of rest/sleep.
  5. Drink water. It takes three days to properly hydrate the body, which means that if you have ceremony after ceremony, day after day, your drinking water all day, every day.
  6. Train and practice. Practice standing for extended periods without moving. It will help.
Memorial Day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

This picture is courtesy of my friend Jari Villanueva, the Taps Bugler.

Walk Off before you Flake
While at Ceremonial at Ease/Stand at Ease, the signal is to move your right arm to your back, as in Parade Rest. That then signals whoever is at the rear of the formation to come and get you and you can then make a quiet exit without injury to you, your equipment, or anyone around you. No shame.

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

 

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!