I have used your website to learn a lot about the different types of drill rifles and variations of them. Very useful for information. Thanks for doing the drill world a favor for taking your time and acquiring all the knowledge you could ask for about drill and putting it in one place. Very, very insightful and convenient! So thanks once more!
~Troy J.

Join me on Facebook (also on LinkedIn and Google+) in the groups Military Drill Professionals

2013 Funeral4
Providing ceremonial support for a veteran and MMI graduate.

All About The DrillMaster

John K. Marshall, The DrillMaster, served 20 years in the US Air Force with 14 of those years dedicated to the Air Force Base Honor Guard program. He retired in 2005. When his wife, an Air Force nurse, was stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany, he became the first and only retired member of the Spangdahlem Base Honor Guard after both the officer in charge and non-commissioned officer in charge were eager to have his experience on the team. By joining the Spangdahlem team, he also became the first and only AP3 member in Europe and quite possibly overseas.

He has been a member, instructor and/or judge for marching bands, drum and bugle corps, indoor guard and percussion units, military drill teams and honor guard units around the world. In 2009, through DrillMaster Press, he began writing and publishing the first modern books for the military drill world. and is listed in the Marching Round Table Judge’s Academy Judges Listing.

It’s not only about the length of experience, but also the breadth.

During the summer of 2013, The DrillMaster taught the first ever Cadet Joint Service Honor Guard Academy at the NCTC along with hand-picked ceremonial guardsmen and Drillers from across the country. The course is a two-week intensive that continues to this day for cadets from all organizations and is based on his book, The Honor Guard Manual.

“Education is key!” is the phrase used most often on DrillMaster social media accounts and continuing education is The DrillMaster goal. To this end, he is determined to study pageantry arts and apply that education to the military drill world. John Marshall, The DrillMaster, is now a certified and registered Field and Ensemble Visual adjudicator with the Judges Academy.

DrillMaster’s Resume/Curriculum Vitae



I train hundreds of cadets and first responders each year in regulation, exhibition, and ceremonial drill.

  • 2017 Instructor, Law Enforcement/Firefighter Honor Guard Academy, Oak Island, NC
  • 2016 Consultant, Army of the Air Exhibition Drill Team, Madrid, Spain
  • 2016 Instructor, Firefighter Honor Guard Academy, The Woodlands, TX
  • 2016 Instructor, Firefighter Honor Guard Academy, Chino Valley, CA
  • 2016 Instructor, Law Enforcement/Firefighter Honor Guard Academy, Modesto, CA
  • 2016 Consultant, St John’s Kagiso Marching Band, South Africa
  • 2016 Instructor, Exhibition Drill Academy, Police College of Qatar
  • 2016 Instructor, Richards High School NJROTC, Chicago, IL
  • 2016 Instructor, CAP MER Drill and Ceremonies School, VA
  • 2015 Instructor, Law Enforcement Honor Guard Academy, Gonzales, LA
  • 2015 Consultant, Kings Dominion (VA) and Carowinds (NC) theme parks
  • 2015, Instructor, Firefighter Honor Guard Academy, Aspen, CO
  • 2015 Colors Coach to CAP National Champion Coral Springs and second-place team Ormond Beach
  • 2014 Instructor, Cadet Joint Service Honor Guard Academy, KY
  • 2013 Instructor/Consultant, Sea Cadets, Phoenix, AZ
  • 2014 Instructor/Consultant, Norwich University Drill Team
  • 2013 Instructor, Firefighter Honor Guard Academy, McAllen, TX
  • 2013 Instructor, Cadet Joint Service Honor Guard Academy, KY
  • 2013-Pres. Drill Master for American Military Cadet Corps and Camp Sousley, KY
  • 2012 Guest Judge, (the last) Joint Service Drill Competition, Washington DC
  • 2012 Clinician, Honor Guard Convention, Las Vegas, NV
  • 2011-Pres. Army JROTC Drill Team and Color Guard Coach, Merritt Island High School, FL
  • 2011-Pres. Air Force JROTC Color Guard Coach, Florida (Air) Prep Academy, FL
  • 2011-2012 Air Force JROTC Drill Team Coach, Melbourne High School, FL
  • 2011 Air Force JROTC Drill Team Coach, Eau Gallie High School, FL
  • 2009-2011 Marching Instructor, Bitburg High School AFJROTC Drill Team and Color Guard, GE
  • 2009-Pres. Bazuinenkorps Jong Leven and Jong Leven Winter Guard Visual Caption Head, NL
  • 2006 Caption Head, Vanden (Winter) Percussion Theater, Vanden High School Band, Vacaville, CA
  • 2005-2006 Drum major and percussion tutor and marching instructor, Vanden High School Band, Vacaville, CA
  • 2004 Consultant, Kadena High School AFJROTC Drill Team, Kadena Air Base, JP
  • 1996-1998 Visual Instructor, Bazuinenkorps Jong Leven and Jong Leven Winter Guard, NL
  • 1990-1993 Marching Instructor, Tucson, Desert View and Mountain View High Schools, AZ


I provide the only live, real-time feedback during military drill competitions since my certification and continued training in visual adjudication. I record the feedback into an MP3 file that is downloadable from my website.

  • 2013-Pres. Judge, JROTC drill competitions
  • 2012 Head Judge, New York Drill Competition
  • 2011-Pres. Adjudicator, online and local JROTC exhibition, regulation and ceremonial drill competitions
  • 2011 Judge, Florida Fire Service Honor Guard Association Competition
  • 2010 Head judge, New York, North Carolina and Texas Drill Competitions
  • 2005-2008 Visual and Drum Major Judge, Pacific Coast Judges Association, Vacaville, CA
  • 1998-2001 Judge, Air Force JROTC Drill Team competitions, South Carolina
  • 1996-1998 Visual Judge, Color Guard Nederland
  • 1994-1998 Visual and Percussion Judge, Drum Corps Holland
  • 1994-1996 Judge, multi-service JROTC Drill Team competitions, Europe
  • 1992-1993 Judge, Air Force JROTC Drill Team competitions, Arizona
  • 1987-1989 Visual and Percussion Judge, Drum Corps United Kingdom


Books I write for edifying cadets and adults alike.

  • 2015 Wrote and published, The Platoon/Flight & Drill Team Coach’s Field Manual
  • 2015 Wrote and published, The Color Guard Coach’s Field Manual
  • 2014 Wrote and published, Filling in the Gaps, Volume II
  • 2013 Wrote and published, Filling in the Gaps
  • 2012 Wrote and published, The Honor Guard Manual
  • 2011 Wrote and published, Exhibition Drill for the Military Drill Team, Volume II
  • 2010 Wrote and published, Continuing Education for the Visual Adjudicator
  • 2009 Wrote and published, The World Drill Association Adjudication Manual and Rule Book
  • 2009 Wrote and published, Exhibition Drill for the Military Drill Team
  • 2009-Pres. Continuously writing educational articles (1500+) published through my website


From my beginning in drill as a cadet in the Military Drill World, until, now.

  • 2015-Pres. National Police Week Honor Guard Competition Technical Advisor
  • 2010-Pres. Vice Associate Chief, Independent Selection Committee, International Association of Exhibition Drillers
  • 2009 Founder and CEO, The DrillMaster, LLC
  • 2009-2011 Authorized Provider Partnership Program member and Trainer, Spangdahlem Air Base Honor Guard, GE
  • 2008-Pres. Director of Contests, International Association of Exhibition Drillers (Pro America)
  • 2008-Pres. Founder and Adjudication Faculty Head, World Drill Association, Inc.
  • 2002-2004 Assistant Superintendent, Kadena Base Honor Guard, JP
  • 1994-1997 Created, trained and lead NATO HQ (Netherlands) US Joint Service Honor Guard
  • 1990-1993 Trainer and Assistant NCOIC, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Honor Guard, AZ
  • 1983-1985 Army ROTC, New Mexico Military Institute cadet
  • 1979-1983 Air Force JROTC cadet, Agua Fria High School, Avondale, AZ


  • 2015 Certification, Foundations of Pageantry Arts Assessment
  • 2016 – Pres. Master of Divinity/Master of Theology, Master’s International School of Divinity
  • 2016 Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies, Emphasis in Theology, Master’s Internation University of Divinity
  • 2003, Air Force Honor Guard Basic Protocol, Honors and Ceremonies Course
  • 2001 Associate of Applied Science, Education and Training Management Community College of the Air Force
  • 2001 Air Force Principles of Instruction
  • 2000 Air Force Noncommissioned Officer Academy
  • 2000 Principles/Methods of Teaching Certificate, USAF
  • 2000 Air Force Instructional Systems Designer Certificate, USAF
  • 2000 Leadership, Management, and Managerial Communications Certificate, USAF
  • 1999 Air Force Noncommissioned Officer Leadership School
  • 1999 Air Force Computer Based Instruction Course
  • 1998 Associate of Applied Science, Reprographics (Offset Printing) Community College of the Air Force
  • 1998 Air Force Education and Training Management Basic Course
  • 1997 Winter Guard International General Effect Visual Judging certificate, Color Guard Nederland
  • 1986 Air Force Noncommissioned Officer Preparatory Course
  • 1985 Navy-Air Force Basic Lithographer Basic Course, Ft. Belvoir, VA
  • 1985 Air Force basic Military Training, Lackland AFB, TX

6 thoughts on “About”

  1. Good morning. I am a Recruit Division Commander at great Lakes Recruit Training Command. People have called me the “Drill Master” due to the fact it is natural to me to train drill. I 5.0’s two of my drill assessments in a row (perfect score) with over 80 recruits in formation at a time. Then I was screened and picked to work at Ceremonial Drill Hall on my hold job. I train the Ceremonial Drill team which they perform in front of thousands of families and friends weekly. My friend and co-worker Troy Pepito referred me ot your website. I have no real formal training but it is like second nature me and I would like to take it a step further and perhaps pursue some real education on it. Thank you.


    BM1 (SW) Jaramillo, L. J.
    Recruit Division Commander
    Ceremonial Unit Drill Instructor
    Midway Ceremonial Drill Hall

    1. Hello Leonard,

      Thanks for the note! It looks like you, Troy and I will be working to get you two a firm foundation in drill so that you can excel even more at your jobs. I look forward to having you in the discussion Troy and I have already started- welcome aboard! By the way, I removed your phone numbers from your post, COMSEC.


  2. I love finding new ways to share with (especially troubled) youth the many positive ways in which people find ways to excel. I was captivated by the opening sequence of ‘A Few Good Men’ with its scenes of what’s clearly an outstanding Drill Team (later i.d. in the closing credits as “Former Members of the Fish Drill Team of Texas A&M”). This led me to doing some research on drill teams, the Fish Drill Team in particular, which led me to your book “Exhibition Drill for the Military Drill Team, Volume II”.

    In the 2nd chapter you cover the history of Drill Teams. You listed a number of movies in which drill teams appeared, but admitted the list was not comprehensive, and that you would like to be notified of other movies containing scenes of drill teams performing. Assuming your request was legit, I offer the following movie titles that could be added to your list:

    1) The 1944 movie “Pin-Up Girl” with Betty Grable featured the star leading the U.S. Navy’s elite WAC drill team in the finale, performing the close order drill ‘Cadence”. Rather than waste time & money hiring actresses to learn/perform the close-order drills the producer & director both agreed no amateurs could replace the authenticity of a real drill team.

    2) Gerald McRaney in Episode 22/Season 2 of his 1992 TV series ‘Major Dad’was an honorary DrillMaster for the USMC’s Drill Team. McRaney couldn’t use a double for his part with the drill (which took less than 2-minutes) & had to practice daily for almost a month to perfect his scene. His brief portion of the drill included an intricate ‘blind throw’ of a rifle to the Marine facing him. Asked about playing a Marine on TV McRaney became dead serious as he replied, “It’s easy to put the uniform on and pretend, but earning the damn thing is a whole different story.”

    3) The 1995 movie ‘Major Payne’ starring Damon Wayans ends with a competition between youth military academy drill teams. Wayans as ‘Major Benson Winifred Payne ‘ plays a hard-core self-admitted ‘killing machine’ who finds himself without a place in the new peace-time military of the U.S. He is given a group of juvenile delinquents who will do anything to get rid of the Major, even winning the biggest event of the year, the Drill Team Competition. The group’s Drillmaster is thrown out of the event just before it’s time for them to go on, and are forced to allow his substitute – a 6 yr. old – to lead the team through an intricate drill routine. The movie features several military school teams, all uncredited, unfortunately.

    4) The 1971 film by the irrepressible Monty Python’s Flying Circus ‘And Now for Something Completely Different’ has the group in a take-off of drill teams that is irreverent & utterly hysterical (especially when viewed in context of the movie). There are a number of comments by drill team afficiandos indicating the short outtake (on YouTube) looks deceptively simple but is, in reality, extremely difficult to pull off since, instead of absolute precision each player keeps his individuality while keeping absolute timing.

    5) 2002’s Disney movie Cadet Kelley starring teen actress Hilary Duff takes place primarily at the Robert Land Academy, a military school in Canada, The finale of the movie is about the young heroine finding redemption in the very group she once mocked: the elite Drill Team of her new military school. The entire crew of young actors were put through what military advisor for the film, Lt. William T. Bates called ‘boot camp’, an intense crash course in performing drill to competition standards. Ms. Duff put forth such an effort to perfect her part she was made an honorary Cadet Sergeant of the school during the production.

    6) There was a short movie (slightly under 1 hr) made in 2002 called Silent Drill Teams. It features a number of the top U.S. silent drill teams preparing for & being in competition. The film shows top quality rifle drill routines from the U.S.’s Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines, mixed in with a moderate amount of historical background and interviews to add interest.

    There are at least six more films I could add, but I’ll let others fill in where I’ve left off. I’ve watched several teams in action since my interest was piqued by your book and continue to be fascinated by each team’s impressive coordination & timing. The youths to whom I’ve shown these teams in action may (at first) mock the ‘suck-up cadets’ but three I know of have gone on to some form of drill team. One, especially (Mr. Darn’l J.) is now working towards acceptance at a local drill club.

    Thank you from them and me,
    Rev. M. R. Koval, RN, BA

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Training and Education for Drill Teams and Honor Guard Units

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