Tag Archives: AFJROTC

JROTC Cadets May Not Wear Service Uniform Items

AFHG Cover

UPDATE: AFJROTC cadets may wear the Hap Arnold, Wing and Star cap device only if the unit has written permission from HG AFJROTC. Individual cadets may not wear the device, but special teams may with the written permission. For more on seeking permission, read the article, New AFJROTC Drill Team Uniform Policy.

JROTC Cadets May Not Wear ANY Service Uniform Items. Cadets in JROTC are not in the military.

A few Air Force JROTC cadets created a little stir in the Military Drill World a little while ago when a friend of mine and I discovered pictures on Instagram and Facebook showing cadets wearing uniforms items that are solely for military service members. What began with Air Force and even Army JROTC cadets wearing the AF Base Honor Guard Badge continued with cadets wearing the Hap Arnold, Wing and Star cap device and other cap devices. Rest assured, those instances were taken care of by a colleague of mine at HQ AFJROTC.

Army JROTC, Marine Corps JROTC, Navy JROTC, and even Coast Guard CPJLP cadets all have guidance on the authorized accouterments for your specific uniform. Find those guidelines (listed here) and follow them. Ignorance is unacceptable. Please remember: Federal law imposes certain restrictions on wearing a military uniform.

For AFJROTC cadets, here is the information that you need to know:

AFJROTC Consolidated Operational Supplement, August 1, 2015, 7.6.8: Badges or insignia from Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, or any other non- AFJROTC group are not authorized on the AFJROTC uniform.

What is authorized? Here is a picture showing the proper device (picture from supplyroom.com).

AFJROTC Cap Device


Thanks to MSgt Lee Messina for the uniform guidance quote.

An Embarrassing Color Guard Performance

I created this article for two reasons:

  1. Help deflect questions that usually arise and come my way. The questions go something like this: “Can we do this/[is this proper] for our color guard?”
  2. Communicate to everyone, even Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, law enforcement, and firefighters that what you do is usually caught on camera and/or video and affects others in some way and that is communicating that ‘they must know what they are doing, so we can do it too’.

I am not writing this to lambast anyone. It’s all about educating. Bad Navy Colors2I reposted the picture at right on my Instagram page from the Yankees baseball team page. In the comments of that picture on my account, you can read comments from an individual who tears into me for pointing out the huge mistakes saying that I should “punish in private, etc.”. While that is a great rule to follow, there are dozens of JROTC cadets and even members of the military who ask me questions all the time about pictures just like this. See Reason 1, at the top.

Yogi Berra just passed (25 Sep 15) and the team paid their respects having a Navy Reserve color team from the NOSC (Naval Operational Support Center, NYC) come to present the colors since Mr. Berra was a Sailor. It was a great ceremony and everyone can give kudos to the Sailors there to present the colors, their hearts were in the right place. However… Their technique mars the performance and heart does not come into it!

If we dissect the top picture, we see the problems:

  1. The colors are in the incorrect order
  2. The right rifle guard is at Reverse Port, which is not authorized for a color team
  3. The left rifle guard is in a different position from the other- but she is the only one who is correct!
  4. The color bearer’s left hands should be at their sides since there isn’t much of a breeze.

Bad Navy ColorsIn this next picture, courtesy of cbssports.com, we get a closer look and find even more that is wrong.

  1. The color bearers’ right-hand grips are incorrect
  2. Now both rifle guards are at Reverse Port, which is again, not authorized for a color team

How did this happen? One very plausible theory is that not one of the Sailors cracked open MCO P5060.20, the Marine Corps drill and ceremonies manual that the Navy and Coast Guard also follow. They may have been taught what to do- maybe even last-minute, buy another Sailor.

This reflects poorly on the military. During my career in the USAF, we always heard the phrase, “As an NCO*, you should [fill in the blank].” NCO is Non-Commissioned Officer which is the equivalent of PO or Petty Officer, which each of these Sailors seem to be. We can see the ranks of two PO1s and one PO2. The rifle in the second picture blocks the US color bearer’s rank.

We NCOs/POs are experts in drill and ceremonies. I get it, our day-to-day jobs probably do not allow those in today’s military to march and practice as often as we would like unless assigned to a specialized unit. Preparation and knowledge are the keys to successful performances. But, we know this already. So, these egregious mistakes in this instance are inexcusable.

Kings Dominion JROTC Drill Competition 2015

KD JROTC EagleFor those JROTC units in the Maryland, DC, Virginia and North Carolina area, save October 17th as your date to attend the 2015 Kings Dominion Multi-Service Drill Competition (KDDC)!

Kings Dominion Youth Programs has partnered with The DrillMaster and the World Drill Association (WDA) to bring the only published, professional adjudication system to the field in Virginia! This is a unique opportunity to perform at Kings Dominion and receive adjudication based on the visual standards used in the pageantry arts.

Click here to go to the KDDC web page and download the 2015 SOP.  The SOP includes the score sheets, click below to download the score sheet reverses. In this first year, we will use the WDA’s Open Class standards. There are other classes with lesser or increasing standards which may be used in subsequent KDDCs. Reminder: the sheets and the information they contain are copyrighted.

Open Class Regulation Drill

Open Class Exhibition Drill

Please direct any questions about registration to Kings Dominion (youthsales@kingsdominion.com) and questions regarding specifics of the competition to The DrillMaster.

The Youth Trumpet and Taps Corps

From The Taps Bugler, Jari Villanueva

TAPSOn Tuesday, September 15th, the White House will honor eleven young women as “Champions of Change” who are empowering their communities. In addition to honoring these young people for their courage and contributions, the goal of the event is to inspire girls and young women to recognize their potential for leadership– as educators, advocates, peer-mentors, artists and entrepreneurs — and to appreciate that they can be leaders in their own way and in their own style.
Katie Prior of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is one of the 11 chosen to be honored.

TAPS1Katie Prior is the 15-year-old founder of the Youth Trumpet & Taps Corps, http://trumpetandtaps.org/ a non-profit organization that trains, supports, and recognizes high school trumpet players who use their musical gifts to honor military veterans. Katie has recruited and trained trumpet players in Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Nebraska, and Wisconsin who volunteer to sound Taps at military funerals and perform patriotic music at community events honoring veterans. When Katie heard that many veterans’ funerals have an audio recording of Taps, she decided to recruit her friends to see to it that veterans in her community get the live tribute they deserve. She developed the program as her Girl Scout Gold Award and became the council’s youngest awardee in history at the age of 14. She has since grown her organization, held training workshops in Texas and Wisconsin, and created an online training that can be taken by any high school trumpeter across the country. Katie is a trumpet player with Oklahoma Youth Orchestras.

I am proud to be attending the White House ceremony to support and honor Katie Prior and the Youth Trumpet & Taps Corps, an organization Taps For Veterans is pleased to be associated with. Katie and her group of young people who are making a difference! I plan to visit her group and do a training session with them.

Katie will be speaking on a panel discussion about girls and leadership. To watch, visit www.whitehouse.gov/live on September 15th at 9:30AM ET. Katie is speaking on the second panel. Each panel is about 1 hour long.

What is Authorized When Presenting the Colors?


Colors Posting Process

Question: I need information for a color guard presentation when other music is played instead of the National Anthem or when the Pledge of Allegiance is recited.

Answer: The only music should be the National Anthem. The Pledge is the only replacement for the Anthem. No other music is authorized. If a band is present and the occasion warrants, the band may play a military march as the team advances to post the colors. A recording can be a substitute, but most often is a poor substitute. To have some kind of music playing for whatever reason as the color team advances and departs is not appropriate. Music is not mandatory. Color teams advance to present and post the colors in silence all of the time.

The color team (color guard) sequence goes like this:

  1. Five minutes before the ceremony, the color team forms up in an out-of-the-way location inside the room or, if there isn’t room for them, outside of the room, near the doorway.
  2. The announcer/master of ceremonies should say something like, “Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the presentation (or posting*) of the colors.”
  3. On that cue, the color team commander calls the team to attention, port arms and gives forward march.
  4. The team comes to center in front of and facing the audience and the commander gives Present, ARMS.
  5. On that cue, the band, National Anthem is played or sung or the Pledge of Allegiance is recited by all present.
  6. The color team commander gives Order, ARMS and the team either posts the colors or departs.

*There is a difference, see the next question.

Color Team Center Aisle Post-Present w-Step Exit
Center Aisle Presentation

Question: Can you present colors indoors when there is already flags posted on a stage?

Answer: Yes! In the honor guard world, it is called a “Show-N-Go”. The reason for only presenting the colors and not posting could be, the event is not formal, the position of the posted colors is awkward, or time will not allow for the posting sequence.

A Show-N-Go is only accomplished when another set of colors or at least the American flag is pre-posted.

Color Team Post-Present and Exit


Images from, The Honor Guard Manual. For complete information on the different acceptable ways of how to present/post the colors and the different ways for the color team to depart, see the manual.

The Little Honor Guard Members

I have been scouring the internet for many years learning about the differences in military drill around the world. One thing that isn’t different is the interest that many young men and women enjoy in the hours of work it takes to present a superior drill team (called an “honor guard” in Asia) performance and in some cases, age does not matter.

2010071500341This little boy, Ryan, in the picture at right, lives in Taiwan. This picture is from 2011 when he was just three-years old.

He loves honor guard in Taiwan, so the Taiwan military has allowed him to perform with their drill teams for several years now. This video is from 2012.

Ryan even changes uniforms! A video from 2015.

One question that I posed was, why does Ryan do everything in the opposite (opposite shoulder, Port to the right) from the members of the drill team? The answer I received was that he learns by watching and mirrors what he sees. I don’t think it will be that difficult to have Ryan switch when the time comes- who knows, he may very well be Taiwan’s greatest exhibition Driller in the coming years.

Click here to see Ryan’s Facebook page.



If I remember correctly, this little boy back in the early 2000s, loved what his uncle did at an Air Force Base in Southern California so his mother made him a tiny Air Force Honor Guard ceremonial uniform.

Little Boy in USAF Ceremonials

Just like children taking an interest in music or other arts, this is a positive influence on these very young men. If you would like to encourage the children you know in military drill or even marching band color guard, you make your own rifle out of wood: go to the Downloads page and find the DrillMaster iDrill Rifle and also the iDrill Rifle Jr!

Create Goals, not Dreams

A speedometer with red needle pointing to Reach Goal, encouraging people to get motivatedBut not just goals, SMART Goals
The difference between a goal and a SMART goal is your goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. SMART goals give you a much better avenue to reach your goals. Your dreams are the fuel that drives the high-performance goal engine.

Broad, general terms are not going to help. What, specifically, do you want to accomplish? “I want to be a better Driller”, is too broad. “I want to improve my footwork”, is much more solid and descriptive.

How will you know how much you have improved? What will you use as your scale to determine your improvement? It is just fine to use a professional to give you feedback and rely on that as your tool for measurement.

“I want to my footwork to be just like a professional tap dancer.” Probably not going to happen by your next competition or over the summer. Small steps are just fine.

Does your goal strictly pertain to what you want? Make sure.

“A year from now, I want to be able to…” While a year is not an impossible timeline, it is quite a long time and there is a great possibility that you will get distracted. “In the next three hours I want to…” is also not impossible, but we need to find a happy medium. Give yourself a week or two, or even a month or six.

While we are on the subject:

Write it down
Successful people say it all the time, “Put it in writing.” In the Air Force I also learned, “If it isn’t written down, it never happened.” While professionally we may do this, sometimes we may overlook applying this to our personal lives. Goals in writing become real, it’s like making a contract with yourself. The contract then requires discipline on your part.

Sacrifice now for great dividends later
Practice, read and study. My articles and books and your service drill and ceremonies manual need to be at the top of your reading list. Wake up early to practice on your own. Carry the command list for the unarmed squad you will command for this year’s competitions. Read it when you are waiting in line. Put a copy of it up in your bathroom and read it three times while you brush your teeth.

Remind yourself why
People who are truly successful never let short-term pain override long-term goals. They know that the only difference between success and failure is where on the timeline they decide to quit. Even so, they constantly remind themselves of “why” they are doing what they do. Find an image that represents your goals and put it everywhere: your computer screensaver, refrigerator door, office desk and your bathroom wall at home. Think it, say it and repeat it. Never forget “WHY.”

While you may not have the power to predict and control the future, you most certainly have the power to shape and guide your future as you see fit. By following these six steps, you can begin to build your new future today, and take positive steps to make 2015 your most awesome year on record.


Exhibition Drill Injuries

Before we begin: I am not a medical doctor. This article is not a substitute for obtaining professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Minor InjuryNow, on to the article.

Many exhibition Drillers (you are not an “exhibitionist” unless you remove your clothing while spinning the rifle) have spent some time dealing with an injury or six.

At your JROTC unit, it is a very good idea to have a first aid kit available during practice. At home, it would be a good to have the same thing or something similar.

Repetitive Use Strains
Doing the same move over and over is the way to finally get it perfected and the best way to strain certain muscles and tendons.

When you have a strain, remember “RICE”: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Ibuprofen or natural supplements to reduce swelling is also a good step to take.

Click here to read a great article about Repetitive Strain Injury. At the site, Clay Scott, explains everything you need to know, including pictures of two very helpful stretches.

Prevention is the key here, but you will still receive an abrasion or cut eventually. Removing both sights and the stacking swivel from your rifle is going to help to significantly reduce opportunities for the rifle parts to cut you.

Cuts still may happen, especially if you drill bladed (Got Bayonet?). If receive a minor cut, clean the wound and cover it with a bandage that has a small amount of tea tree oil or honey (must be real, not the processed junk) on it.

Click here to read about some excellent natural methods to treat cuts and abrasions.

The JROTC Instructor and The DrillMaster

DSCN0479I have heard at times from cadets that I say the same thing as their JROTC instructors. That is a good thing. It shows that the JROTC instructors are on the right track of creating a solid educational foundation for their teams (color guard and drill team). The instructors may not teach just like me, but different approaches offer fresh training experiences. But, what if the instructor does  not say the same thing that I do when teaching?

Not everyone in the military knows drill and ceremonies inside and out. As a matter of fact, that is the norm. Most JROTC instructors are senior NCOs who have been away from the marching scene for ten or even fifteen years or more. They were managers in their career field and were not anywhere close to a military formation- for the most part. There are exceptions, most definitely, as evidenced by several JROTC teams that are top-notch for drill.

Civil Air Patrol, US Navy Sea Cadets and the Army-based cadet programs that are across our nation are sometimes better than JROTC units at drill and ceremonies, however, in my experience, all cadet programs are about the same.

Problems? Go back to Competitive Regulation Drill
Many issues can be eliminated by revisiting Competitive Regulation Drill (CRD) training and

Competitive RD is very different from the standard RD that one learns in Basic Training for each service. Regulation Drill moves a military formation from point A to Point B; it teaches teamwork, leadership, etc. Competitive RD goes much beyond that helping the team understand the mechanics behind taking the first step, each subsequent step and how to apply the principles of CRD in the exhibition drill program.

Herein lies the issue: most adults who work with cadets, including JROTC instructors, do not understand what goes into creating a training program that encompasses CRD. In walks The DrillMaster.

What does the DrillMaster offer?
A fresh perspective at training cadets for those units that already have a top-notch team. Basic, intermediate and advanced training information and techniques for everyone else. Books on every aspect of military drill: RD, XD and CD (Exhibition Drill and Ceremonial Drill).

I visit JROTC and other cadet programs for a minimal tuition fee depending on the length of training and help with transportation and lodging. I teach for an afternoon, a weekend or even a week or two.

DrillMaster University
This is the umbrella under which I offer the following courses:

  • DrillUp! (for cadets and instructors)
  • Drill Team Improvement Seminar (for instructors)
  • Cadet Joint Service Honor Guard (click here for more information– offered every summer)
  • Certification programs for instructors/coaches and

Visit the Downloads page to download information sheets about the above-mentioned courses.

Follow The DrillMaster on Periscope!

I teach in various locations around the United States of America and with the advent of Periscope, the application for smart phones, I can now share live training moments when working with law enforcement, firefighters, EMS and cadets!

Download the free app from your phone’s store and start watching. Broadcasts begin the first week of August 2015 at the Cadet Joint Service Honor Guard Academy!

DrillMaster Periscope