Tag Archives: AFJROTC

The Difference Between Accuracy and Precision

This video can be of great help to you in training.

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Outstanding Unarmed Exhibition Drill

Many JROTC drill teams here in America have yet to consider unarmed drill on this scale. I encourage you to explore drill on this level with your team whether armed or not.

The gentleman calling the commands has been doing this for years and has increased the complexity of the program with each new team.

World Drill Association Mentioned in AFJROTC Newsletter

world drill association, drill team, exhibition drillThe World Drill Association (WDA), is the organization developed to create a solid foundation for adjudicating all types of drill and ceremonies in the military drill world: regulation, ceremonial and exhibition. The WDA exists to educate judges and Military Drill Professionals of all levels.

The WDA recently co-hosted a drill meet at Florida Air Academy in Melbourne, FL and Headquarters, Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps published a picture of the teams and gave a mention to the WDA.

Click here to download the AFJROTC April 2015 Newsletter.

My Cadet Hero

The best reason for JROTC, in my view, is that high school cadets can wear a military uniform and participate in different activities no matter their physical issues.

I have worked with JROTC units for many years and have had the opportunity to work with many, many cadets. Of those cadets I have seen some with physical issues that would prevent them from joining the military, but they have the opportunity to at least see what it is like to be in a pseudo-military environment. I so appreciate that.

Ariel Summerlin 2012
Ariel Summerlin, 2012

In 2012, I read a story online about a young lady, Ariel Summerlin, who has a physical issue and was intrigued. She does not have a left leg; and yet, she marches with her school’s JROTC program. You read that correctly, she marches with her team. She was a freshman then.

Back then, she was on her unit’s inspection team and did very well. Then she added unarmed regulation drill to her competitive repertoire. She even does extremely well in drill downs (knock out).

Fast forward three years and she is still marching with her team as a high school junior. As I attended Nationals in Daytona Beach, I saw her marching with her team and, when the opportunity was right, I ran over and told her how inspirational she is. I’m sure she has heard that hundreds of times before and that the word “inspirational” might even seem trite, but it’s true. I wanted to get a “selfie” with her, but her team was loading onto the bus on Saturday evening and I thought she was leaving.

Ariel Summerlin and MeSunday arrived and so did she! As she was at a booth near mine and walked over and introduced myself again and asked if I could get a picture with her. She was a little embarrassed and laughed when I commented on her height limitation compared to mine.

Ariel, you’re awesome.

Creating the “Drill Buddy” Concept for Your Unit

Battle BuddyThe Army and Marine Corps have the Battle Buddy system. The Navy and Coast Guard have Shipmates and the Air Force incorporated it’s Wingman system service-wide in the late 2000s. Maybe you are not familiar with this concepts but might see the opportunity to adopt it once you see how it works.Honor guard units and drill teams can use this to their great benefit.

Getting Buddy-Buddy
In the military, the number one priority day-in and day-out is safety and the old adage, there’s safety in numbers, is very true. It’s also the reason that many in the law enforcement community have a partner on the job, safety. You do not go anywhere without your “Battle” and it doesn’t matter where you are going. We, in the military drill world, can stretch that concept to go a little further to meet our needs.

Cadets have all kinds of things for which they need to keep track: all of the other classes in school, JROTC and then there is drill team, color guard and even Raiders/Orienteering. On the team, you have to remember to dry clean your uniform, shine shoes, prepare the uniform, haircut, practice days and times, performance days and times, etc. Keeping track of all of that can be much easier when two cadets are working toward that same goal.

Honor guard units (law enforcement, firefighters and EMS) can reap the same benefits of using a buddy system. It’s all for making the team look their best when it counts.

Uniform prepWhat a Drill Buddy Does
Spending the night before a competition to help setup uniforms and shine shoes. That 0400 phone call to make sure your Drill Buddy is up. Finishes your breakfast since it’s way too early. Gives you part of his/her lunch since he/she ate half of your breakfast. But the biggest role a Drill Buddy accomplishes is checking your uniform right after you check his/hers. Yes, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are wearing everything that you need to have on and carrying the rest, but it is your Drill Buddy who makes sure your cover (hat) is on straight and that the chin strap is flush with the bill, that you do not have wrinkles and he/she is the one ready with the lint roller.

To bring all of this together, does your unit have a contract/list of expectations? No? You should and I’ll soon publish an example that you can download, use and modify. Check back, it will be on the Downloads page.

The Progression of an Exhibition Drill Soloist

Chris Scanlan is today’s Guest writer. Thank you, Chris!

Scanlan and team 2015My name is Chris Scanlan, I’m a Cadet Captain of The Lebanon High School AFJROTC Unit in Ohio. I’ve been drilling, in every category of drill: Regulation, Inspection, Color Guard, and Exhibition, for four years now. I’m the Co-Drill Team Commander for my drill team, that won state for the past seven years and we are currently leading the circuit for state points. {The image above is of Chris and his teammates in 2015 showing their numerous trophies- DrillMaster]

What got me into drill was basically watching my brother perform drill when I was in 8th grade. I was at a local competition as a fan; I remember watching my brother competing in the armed regulation event. I remember watching everyone being in step together, staying sharp, crisp, and poised. I said, “This is amazing!” and was hooked from there on out! What kept me involved in drill was the Class of 2015 Drillers on the team. With 11 seniors, including myself, we always had each other’s’ back. Through all the losses, arguments, faults, blood, sweat, and tears given for this sport, I would go back and perform with them in a heartbeat. They truly support me like no one else.

My heart belongs to exhibition drill. I’ve work so hard to master my craft and I love every minute of it.  In my four-year drill career, I’ve managed to pull out 10 first place solos, 2 second place solos, 2 third place solos, three first place tandems, two second place tandems, and two third place tandems. I’ve also qualified for The World Drill Championships for both solo and tandem. During my freshman year, exhibition drill was frowned upon on the team. “We’re not cheerleaders!” Is what I’ve been told, numerous times, regarding exhibition. While they found it unorthodox of the hand slapping, rifle twirling, and random chants during performances, I’ve always had a greater appreciation towards it. I made it my goal to leave Lebanon High School, with people having an appreciation towards exhibition drill. As of now, I do believe my goal has been not only achieved, but exceeded. I have freshman drillers wanting to learn ex. They would always tell me how amazing I am and how they want to drill like me! After hearing stuff like that, I know I did my job and I couldn’t be happier.

John Marshall, The DrillMaster, has heavily influenced my drill in numerous way. I remember listening to his audio critique for my MIODC 3 video and just being in awe. He gave me a, “new eye” for exhibition drill. I remember the biggest thing he taught me was layered movement: using multiple layers of your drill to perform, whether it is, upper body/footwork, footwork/ torso work, ETC… He brought the idea that there is more to the art of exhibition drill than just, “spinning the rifle.”  I rely quite a bit on Mr. Marshall to give me feedback on my performances today as well as over the years. His knowledge and eye for drill is impeccable and can’t be touched. After every solo performance, I always send my video to him and ask for a critique, and he delivers! He never leaves me disappointed, whether it’s with something I couldn’t see that hindered my drill, or a 42-minute long audio critique, I love it! Mr. Marshall is the first person I go to for critiques and it will stay like that for a while. I give a big thanks to you, The DrillMaster, for increasing my growth in drill. I wouldn’t be both a great performer, and a knowledgeable driller!

My long termgoals will be competing at The NHSDTC 2015 solo and dual event this year, with my dual partner Jonathan Wurzelbacher.  After high school is over, I will be attending Wright State University, where I’ll be majoring in marketing. I will join their AFROTC program and most likely join their drill team. I hope to be able to coach a newly formed drill team, while being in college, to help inspire the young drillers, in the same manner of how I was inspired.

Here are Chris’s critiques:

JROTC Cadets Wearing Military Service Accouterments

There is a problem at the JROTC level that really gets on my nerves and it has nothing to do with drill- that I could go on about for a couple hours at least, but at least this website and my books are helping educate cadets and instructors. After all, as I say constantly, “Education is key!”

Speaking of educating, and getting back to the point of this article, there seems to be a severe lack of education with some JROTC instructors regarding the wear of military service items on JROTC uniforms. I’m going to blame a lack of awareness on the part of the instructor(s) since I do not have firsthand knowledge of this.

Base Honor Guard in France

This was taken by a French friend of mine. It shows me as the NCOIC (commander) of the Color Team from Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany. We were rendering honors at the American Military Cemetery in Brittany, France in 2010. As you can see, my colleagues and I are wearing our Base Honor Guard (BHG) badges that we affectionately call the  “Cookie.” Males wear it on the lower left and females wear it on the upper right. I spent 17 years on a BHG in several locations around the world, training, teaching and rehearsing constantly over those years, three of them while retired. After hundreds of hours of working with your Ceremonial Guardsmen, you have a certain attachment to them and the BHG system as a whole. That attachment can be voiced in ‘owning’ a certain portion of that program by calling it, mine.

To my astonishment, I found out that JROTC cadets are wearing “my” Cookie. Not my personal Cookie that I still have on my Ceremonial uniform, but “my” Cookie nonetheless.

All service JROTCs strictly forbid the wear of any item that an Active Duty, Reserve or National Guard member wears. This includes several colors of berets, ribbons, medals, job qualification badges, wings, tabs, etc. JROTC cadets cannot and should not wear any of these items because they are not in the military. Period. The same goes for my Cookie. Yes, it is not mine specifically, but as I stated earlier, I have a certain attachment to the BHG.

In this specific case, what does it take to be authorized to wear the BHG Cookie? Graduation from USAF Basic Training, graduation from a Technical School (A-School for you non-AF types) assignment to at least your first installation, assignment to the BHG and graduation from your installation’s 100+ hour BHG training program. Therefore, it is impossible for a JROTC or any other cadet to earn and wear the badge without it being along the lines of Stolen Valor. Yes, this is a serious issue.

If your JROTC unit cadets wear any kind of military service item, please stop right now. Your integrity is now at stake, by reading this article, you now know that if you are wearing a BHG cookie or any other device it is absolutely wrong.

There are many creative ways to help set apart cadets who are on drill team, color team or what a unit might call honor guard: shoulder cord, aiguillette, uniform stripes, distinctive ribbons, etc. Click here for more ideas.

ROTC (college) is a little different. Contracted college cadets are considered “Third Lieutenants” and as such wear the service uniform within the guidelines of their service’s dress and appearance manual.

Military schools have some different standards as well to go along with their distinctive uniforms, just like the service academies.

Let us not forget the distinctive uniform items of  Military Cadets (Army), Patriot Youth Corps (Army), Young Marines, Civil Air Patrol, Sea Cadets and Sea Scouts. None of these programs allows their cadets to wear distinctive uniform items from their services except when specifically noted in their manual.

And then there are the Police and Fire Explorer Cadets. I think that takes care of all of the cadet programs. But each has it’s own uniform, rank, ribbons, etc. They do not take from the military services something which is blatantly not authorized for wear by anyone else.

No one else except Tomb Guards wear their badge. No one else except the USAF Honor Guard wears the AFHG metal cookie. I think I’ve made my point.

“But other JROTC units are doing it.” This statement does not have a point. Stop doing the wrong thing and educate others.

What it all comes down to is not wearing anything distinctive on a JROTC uniform that is only meant for Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen or Coast Guardsmen. Please, do the right thing.

Army JROTC/NDCC Instructors and Cadets should read Army Regulation 145–2 and Cadet Command Regulation 145-2.

Marine Corps JROTC/NDCC Instructors should read the MCJROTC Instructor Handbook and Instructors and Cadets should read MCO P1533.6.

Navy JROTC/NDCC Instructors and Cadets should read NAVEDTRA 37116-H.

Army JROTC/NDCC Instructors and Cadets should read AFJROTC Instruction 36-2001.

Coast Guard CPJLP (JROTC)/MAST/NDCC Instructors and Cadets should read- I can’t find anything as of yet .

NDCC stands for National Defense Cadet Corps. An NDCC unit is just like a JROTC unit but it does not meet certain requirements, most likely student enrollment, and the school district picks up the tab for everything.

DrillMaster at Daytona Nationals 2013

National High School Drill Team Championships 2013, exhibition drill, regulation drill, color guard, color team
National High School Drill Team Championships 2013

The National High School Drill Team Championships were a big hit yet again! Drillers and teams from all over the country, Guam and Hawaii came to showoff their skills. Some teams left with trophies, others left with great pride in knowing they had done their best.

The picture at left is of me having a long and very good discussion about everything under the sun with a drill team coach. We will be working together in the future in honor guard and drill team endeavors.


Daytona Nationals 2013 Fans, exhibition drill, regulation drill, color guard, color team, fancy dril
Daytona Nationals 2013 DrillMaster Fans

The two gentlemen in the picture at right (C/Lt Cdr Jacob Lindsey and C/Lt JG Tevion Gray) are from St Louis, Missouri and attend the Cleveland Jr. Naval Academy. What’s remarkable about these two fine cadets is that they are on their school’s drill team and the team was not doing very well at competitions, this is until they bought Exhibition Drill for the Military Drill Team- both volumes. Interestingly, once they read both of my books, according to Cadet Lindsey, they began to have a better understanding as to what exhibition drill was about and the team began to sweep all of their drill meets in SY12/13! Yes, they swept the drill meets. As I constantly say, education is key- and this proves my point!

John Jay High School AFJROTC
Now owns a copy of each one of my books that I had available at my table, all except The DrillMaster: Filling in the Gaps, because I had just published it on the Friday before. MSgt Harwell, stopped by after Step II had a good rehearsal and purchased the books. I had the distinct opportunity to pray for my brother in Christ and I pray that he finds joy and contentment as he moves on in life.

I’m looking forward to seeing you all next year at competitions around the country and then in Daytona!

National High School Drill Team Championships, exhibition drill, fancy drill, freestyle drill, regulation drill, color guard, color team, john jay high school, afjrotc, njrotc, mcjtrotc, ajrotc, drill competition, drill meet

JROTC Class Regulation Drill Sequences

World Drill Association, drill team, squad drill, regulation drill
World Drill Association Logo

JROTC Class Regulation Drill Sequences
Each JROTC has an annual inspection and for that inspection the inspector watches each class (platoon or flight) go through a sequence of commands. Some JROTC units use a standardized sequence from a drill competition and some use a sequence created for first-year JROTC cadets.

I decided to create score sheets for the latter based on the World Drill Association Adjudication system.

Army JROTC Squad Drill Overall Effect Score Sheet

Navy/Marine Corps/Coast Guard JROTC Overall Effect Score Sheet*

Air Force Overall Effect Score Sheet

JROTC Regulation Drill Sequence Movement Score Sheet

JROTC Regulation Drill Sequence Equipment Score Sheet

*I could not find any kind of sequence that is mandatory for NJROTC/MCJROTC, but I did find an annual inspection letter with some guidance, so I included that here.

If you desire to use any of these score sheets for your unit, please do so, you have my permission. You may not make changes to the sheets, however. To learn more about the World Drill Association Adjudication  System, click here. If you’d like any changes to be made or want a set of score sheets made for your unit/competition, please don’t hesitate to let me know!


The Cadet Series: American Military Cadets

A little-known program, but quickly gaining more and more exposure, is the American Military Cadet Corps (AMCC). It is just like US Navy Sea Cadets or Civil Air Patrol, but for the Army and like Sea Cadets, USAC offers hands-on real-world training just like Soldiers get. Pardon the expression but, USAC is Army JROTC on steroids.

Strength and Honor!
This motto is introduced to every cadet and adult volunteer, and they men it. Unlike the other non-JROTC cadet programs, AMCC cadre (adult volunteers) are brought on board as officers OR enlisted. At the time of this writing, I happen to be a AMCC Staff Sergeant (SSG). Why go the enlisted route? It’s up to the individual. Many who are already retired enlisted, choose to remain enlisted since that is where they can make the biggest impact- working day-to-day with the cadets. That is not to say that AMCC officers do not have an impact, but the enlisted side is usually more hands-on on a daily basis.

A Navy History?
Yes, AMCC, (formerly Army Cadets or USAC) actually began as a Navy-based program and then became the American Cadet Alliance which had Navy, Marines and Army cadets.

From the AMCC website:

The American Military Cadet Corps (AMCC) traces its heritage to the early days of the 20th century, making us the oldest nationwide Cadet program still existing today.  Our history and culture are steeped in the oldest traditions of Cadetting.  In those days, a group of veterans chose to create a military-style youth organization to give the young men of their community a chance for adventure.  The program was Navy based and taught boys good citizenship and patriotism.  This idea was the foundation of both the Boy Scouts of America and the American Cadet Alliance (ACA), the predecessor to the AMCC.

The American Cadet Alliance was founded as Colonel Cody’s Boy Scouts, by CAPT James H.C. Smyth on April 10, 1909, at the First Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, NY. April 10 is celebrated as the birthday of the Corps.

In 1911, the organization split into two organizations:  the Boy Scouts of America and the American Naval and Marine Scouts.  On Aug. 16, 1927, the American Naval and Marine Scouts was incorporated in New York state as the New York Junior Naval Militia.  Early in 1929, the organization split and Commodore Smyth and a number of senior officers left and on Feb. 19, 1929, incorporated the Junior Naval Reserve.

A Unique Situation
Unlike Sea Cadets, Young Marines and the CAP, AMCC is also part of Forest Hill Military Academy a full-time boarding and day school located in Millersburg, KY. Read more here.

Got Training?
They have training! Take a look at the summer 2015 training schedule: (contact me for special “DrillMaster Reduced Fees”!)

Troop Handlers Course ……………………………………. Jun 14-20
Basic Cadet Training – Session 1……………………… Jun 21- Jul 4
Basic Cadet Training – Session 2 …………………….. Jul 5 – 18
Basic Leaders Course …………………………………………Jul 5 – 18
Cadet Combat Engineers Course …………………… Jul 5 – 25
Cadet Ranger Challenge ………………………………….. Jul 5-25
Cadet Ranger School ………………………………………… Jul 26 – Aug 16
Tactical Leaders Course …………………………………… Jul 19 – Aug 2
Cadet Equestrian Program (NEW!!) ……………… July 26 – Aug 2
Cadet Military Police Academy……………………….. Aug 2 – 16
Cadet Joint Service Honor Guard Academy …. Aug 2 – 16
Cadet Military Combatives Program ……………… Aug 2 – 8
Cadet Medic School (NEW!!) …………………………… Aug 2 – 8
Cadet Airborne Jump School (NEW!!) …………… Aug 9-15

Cadet Airborne School. Watch the AMCC site for updates!