The argument for uniforms in a drill meet
It can be made for either way. Currently, drill teams in many areas, can and do develop their own unique uniforms wearing almost nothing resembling their service’s basic uniform- but still communicate military flavor and some completely leave their military roots as far as the uniform and even the routine is concerned. If you have the funds, then the sky is the limit, apparently. Other teams, who cannot afford such things or that have uniform restrictions, wear the basic uniform, with or without blouse (jacket), and sometimes add accent items like an ascot, colored beret, gloves and/or aiguillette.
The DrillMaster viewpoint
I appreciate the freedom of visual expression that some drill teams explore. It’s a good thing. However, I would restrict this to exhibition drill (XD) only. When it comes to the other phases of competition: inspection, regulation drill and color team, basic issue-only uniforms should be mandatory.This would make mandatory: name tags, ribbons (no medals), rank and authorized badges.
As teams progress through each phase, they would run through the mandatory issued uniform phases (inspection, regulation drill and color team) and would then be allowed time to change/add exhibition accouterments and then proceed onto the XD area to perform.
Why this philosophy?
Keeping the playing field level. This way, everyone gets to compete in a fair environment. Everyone has access to the issued uniform and its authorized accouterments and competition should be based on this- the already established standard.
I’ve talked with JROTC instructors around the world who tell me about funds that aren’t there for creating a “cool, flashy” uniform. the inspection and regulation drill, including color team, phases are all based on guidance that is published in a military service’s manual- whatever that manual is called. So, doesn’t it make sense to follow the manual to the letter? Of course!
What about Exhibition drill?
A military regulation/manual on XD does not exist. The series of books that I have written are in no way a regulation, but are tools for educating those in the military drill world. Still, each of the military services do not venture into writing regulations for exhibition drill because the military has no general interest regarding XD. Specific interest, yes (the service drill teams).
No official guidance for XD. XD is then wide open. While you still need to have military flavor in the uniform and routine itself, but the XD phase gives teams and individual Drillers room for imagination. And imagination is a good thing in XD, but not allowed in the other phases.
Some competitions do not allow anything more than an ascot, gloves and aiguillette/shoulder cord. This could possibly be called “extreme,” but it stands to reason: untrained judges can be swayed solely by how a team looks. Which brings up the issue of getting judges professionally trained!