Tag Archives: color guard

How to Restart a JROTC Drill Team

drill team traiing: XD Cover 2AExhibition Drill for the Military Drill Team
The First Book for Drill Team Training: XD Cover, Exhibition Drill for the Military Drill Team

I received this question over the summer of 2014. It is always relevant, though!

Question: I’m a freshmen going into my sophomore year, also to my let 2 year in JROTC. I was wondering if you can give me tips and/or advice for starting up an exhibition team. Because in my freshmen year, at my school’s drill meet, I conducted one routine for alternative arms. It was OK, but I knew we could have done better. It was very last minute, unorganized and stressing. My team only practiced for not even a whole week, and the meet was on Saturday. Yes, I know… But that’s why, I was wondering that, maybe with your help and expertise, you can maybe help me start up exhibition again in my school. By the way our JROTC program hasn’t seen a drill trophy in years. Seriously, anything you say will help.

DrillMaster’s Reply: You have this summer to prepare for this coming school year and three more years of school which is perfect! Here is what I recommend.

1. Always first is educating yourself and your teammates.
2. You must have a plan to effectively move forward with your individual and team progress.
3. Put that education into practice. You must begin much earlier in the year.

First you and your team MUST download and read the latest edition of your service drill and ceremonies manual. Go to my website, www.thedrillmaster.org, and click on the Downloads tab. There, you will find all kinds of downloads, including all three of the latest D&C manuals. You and your team must perfect regulation drill, unarmed and armed. Once you have accomplished that, then move into exhibition drill.

There aren’t any exhibition drill manuals except for my books. which are here, http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/drillmaster. I do have many articles for drill teams on how to create effective routines, what to do and what not to do when it comes to marching, but the books have so much more. This summer I’ll be publishing two more books specifically on how to train others in regulation drill and color guard- you are actually the first to know about these two books!

The Marine Corps’ Silver Bands

Marine Corps Color Guard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you see the Marine Corps Color Guard based at the Marine Barracks in Washington D.C., you will notice something a little different about the flagstaff of the Marine Battle Colors (the MC flag that has the Corps’ battle streamers hanging from it). Look at the picture at right.

The silver bands on the darker staff are historical. Each band is inscribed with the name of a battle (an Army tradition which was disconinued in 1961). Eventually, the flagstaff was changed (the services adopted the standardized light ash wood, two-piece staff) and the Marine corps went to streamers only.

From MCO 10520.3 (6 Nov 13)

Silver Bands
Silver bands were authorized for use for the Marine Corps on November 139. They were displayed on the staff of the battle color, organization color, or Marine Corps color to augment battle streamers and inscribed showing battle participation, campaign, expedition, etc Because of the problem created by the change in the flag staff, the fixed dimension of the silver bands, the large number of bands some organizations were authorized, and the fact that the bands were a duplication of battle streamers, the awarding of silver bands to units was discontinued on 27 March 1961 and requisitioning of bands is no longer authorized.

Marine Barracks 8th and I, as the caretaker of the Marine Corps Battle Standard, is the only Marine Corps organization entitled, and authorized to display silver bands.

Regarding the rifle guards’ opposite positions: the Navy Ceremonial Guard and Marine Corps Honor Guard are the only teams authorized to execute these positions for their services.

The Case for Cased Flags and Colors

Honor Guard Cased FlagA Cased Flag

At right is a picture of a cased flag (this is a folded interment flag). Once the American flag is folded, it is considered cased and does not receive a salute.

Here is an example: the flag is brought down in the evening from a stationary flagpole. The team folds it, forms up and marches away (with one member holding the flag like the picture at right- point up or down does not matter) to store the flag in a specific room for the night. On the way back to the building, the team encounters cadets who stop and render a salute as the folded flag passes. While, saluting is not wrong, it is not necessary and communicates that you are unaware of the published guidance regarding the flag.

MacAruther Color Guard Dipping Cased ColorA Cased Color
Just as a cased flag does not receive a salute, a cased color does not render a salute.

Literally every team in the JROTC community follows the example that is pictured here. This is a picture of the MacArthur color guard in a recent competition. Thank you to the MacArthur High School cadet who allowed me to use this picture and who was truly interested in this issue.

Why does every team dip the cased color? Because a salute from a color team involves dipping non-national colors and this is something that one would not really think twice about. None of the service drill and ceremonies manuals (you can find them all here) discuss this because it has never been and is never an issue for the military. It is drill meets that create issues like this.

When we bring cased flags and colors into one discussion, we can then make logical decisions. Dipping a cased color is not proper. Cased colors never receive a salute, so it follows that they would not render a salute. It’s like dipping a bare flagstaff- there is no reason to do so.

“Individuals or units passing or being passed by uncased Colors out of doors render honors.” T.C. 3-21.5 (emphasis mine)

So now what?
Spread the word. Educate as many people as possible. Print this article and when you attend your next drill meet, bring up this issue at the meeting and let everyone know that you will not be dipping your cased color and that he judges need to allow dipping and not dipping for the time being until everyone is fully educated. I will send a link for this article to the each service JROTC headquarters to help disseminate the information. Knowledge is key!

See also: How to Fold the Fringed American Flag

One more thing
In the MacArthur JROTC picture above, the team’s equipment is comprised of nine-foot six-inch flagstaffs and three-foot by 5-foot colors. These sizes are not meant to be mixed together (see my article here) however, teams use the larger flagstaffs and smaller colors so that the color bearers can see. Marching at close interval with the larger colors creates problems because the team members can not rely on anything else but sight and if the flag is in a team member’s face, there is a good chance the team will eventually be out of alignment and step. If they were shoulder-to-shoulder, appropriately sized colors and staffs would not be an issue.

Have you wanted to Write for the Military Drill World?

Drill team training and honor guard training at its best!
Drill Camps, Honor Guard Academies, Drill Team Training & Coach Certification

In 1990 I began my first book, Exhibition Drill for the Military Drill Team. I didn’t know that it was going to be a published book, I thought I’d write out a few drill moves and offer it to whoever wanted a copy- for free. However, in 2009, with a big shove into the unknown from my wife and my daughter, I finally published what I call XDI. I never considered myself a writer, how was I to know?

Fast forward to 2014 and I have written over 1000 articles and am working on books 8-12. So, I guess that qualifies me as a writer now and maybe you are in the same boat; you have an idea, but don’t really know how to get it out there. Well, that’s where I come in.

Under the name/title, The DrillMaster, I have created education, training and certification programs for members of the military drill world and here is another program: guest writer for this blog.

A guest writer would write on any topic that is within the realm of military drill: regulation, exhibition, ceremonial- or maybe you have thought of another tie-in on one of the above subjects that has not been covered here, something new and you have wanted to reach Drillers each day around the globe.

Dozens of people from around the world read this blog each day. Depending on the time of year (the school year, specific holidays or ceremonial-type days), this blog, as of 2014 averages over 600 hits per day.

If you would like to, write. Use the articles here as a guide and provide a picture or two or even a diagram with your article. When you think you are ready to have it published on this blog, send me an email through my Contact page stating that you are interested and I will get back to you right away so that you can forward me the article(s) you have in mind.

Get paid to write?
Well, not exactly. But if I do feel that your article would be a good addition to the next edition of my book, Filling in the Gaps, then I will send you a copy of one of my books that you choose while giving you full credit in the book- your name will will be in print as a contributing author!

What are you waiting for? Get writing!

Need I say it? No plagiarism…

The Air Force Academy National Invitational Drill Meet 2015!

USAFAThe Air Force Academy‘s (USAFA) Cadet Honor Guard will run the 41st National Invitational Drill Meet (NIDM) this coming April (2015). This has been a big competition in the past, and the USAFA cadets want it to be even bigger from now on!

For 2015, NIDM is open to both JROTC and ROTC drill teams, color guards, small teams and soloists! Download the SOP for more information. If you need further help, join the Facebook group, Military Drill Professionals, to contact the cadet in charge of the competition.

Click here to download the 2015 NIDM SOP PDF.

DrillMaster Professional Audio Performance Critiques

world drill association, drill team, exhibition drillDrillMaster Professional Audio Performance Critiques (APC)

Do you have a drill team performance or solo that you would like to have professionally critiqued?

 

The DrillMaster is the only professionally trained judge who has now translated that training into a complete system for the military drill world. The World Drill Association Adjudication Manual and Rule Book is the first and only published manual that explains how to use visual adjudication when judging regulation drill (including color teams- color guard), exhibition drill and ceremonial (honor guard) drill.

 

drillmaster logo, drill team, exhibition drillThe DrillMaster applies this 4-caption system to judging your performance: Overall Effect, Composition Analysis, Equipment and Movement. Commentary is given as a single-commentary mixture or 4 separate commentaries. APCs are given for live or recorded performances.

world drill association adjudication corps, drill team, exhibition drill

Would you like to learn how to judge using this system? Visit the Contact page and send a request, your training can begin right away and become a member of the WDA Adjudication Corps!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do Standards even Matter?

Drill Team Uniform for XDThe picture at right was sent to me by a Facebook friend who is an Army JROTC instructor in Texas. He sent it with the note that, at this particular drill meet, the SOP stated that only authorized service uniforms were to be worn. He told me the reason for the strict uniform requirements:

One year I saw a color guard there wearing western wear. They had black denim trousers, western style shirts, cowboy boots and hats, and even wore red bandannas around their necks. It was getting ridiculous.

The Fancy or Basic Uniforms? article.

My response follows.

While I think the white Kevlar helmets are a strange choice, I don’t understand the Army’s (or any service’s) stiff-necked approach to uniforms. While I understand and fully support inspection, regulation and color guard in only authorized service uniforms, I don’t see why there is an issue regarding “exhibition uniforms” when it comes to exhibition drill. I in no way support any other kind of uniform when it comes to all regulation drill.

That being said, if instructors and cadet leaders cannot be bothered to read the SOP/OI, then the cadets should suffer the consequences which, unfortunately, ruins the purpose and experience of a drill meet.

What’s more, those who were running this competition did not even uphold the rules! This communicates to everyone involved that, no matter what standards are, it really doesn’t matter. I seriously doubt that this is what any JROTC command or unit wants to convey.

exhibition drill, regulation drill, color guard, color team, drill meet, drill competition, jrotc, air force, army, navy, marine corps, coast guard, standards, uniform

Details, Details, Details

Yours is a Professional Ceremonial Unit
Army Pall Bearers
And you need to project that at all times not only in what you do, but in what you say.

Calling out “Detail” as the preparatory command, which is quite common, is not a word that is usually associated with a professional honor guard unit and I suggest not using it at all especially in public. After all, in the military, members get picked for unpleasant details, jobs that they would rather not do and that word is associated with the members of a detail not wanting to be there. This is not something that we want to project to VIPs or even the next-of-kin.

Better preparatory commands, as you will read throughout The Honor Guard Manual, are specific:

  • “Bearers” for the pall bearers
  • “Colors” for the color team
  • “Firing Party” for those on the team firing the 3-volley salute
  • “Cordon” for those on a cordon
  • “Guard” for the honor guard
  • “Drill Team” or “Team” for a Drill Team

For downloadable audio examples of how to give commands, click here and scroll down to Honor Guard Commands.

honor guard, firing party, color guard, color team, cordon, pall bearers, body bearers, firefighter, law enforcement, military

Color Team: This Position is not Authorized for any Service Branch

Color Team: This Position is not Authorized for any Service Branch

Colors- Never Parade Rest

Never should a color (a color is a flag attached to a flagstaff) be pushed out like a guidon when at Parade Rest or Stand at Ease. The position pictured here is ONLY for a guidon bearer.

guidon, color guard, color team, honor guard, jrotc

The Registration Application Works!

The DrillMasterYes folks, I was finally able to get the code and my friend at Dave Becker Design to finally make things work. It’s difficult being a one-man band while maintaining the site, writing articles, teaching, writing books and all of the others things necessary in life. But, God is good and gracious and I was able to connect with Dave and have him take care of a long overdue job.

Please register and begin the discussions in the forum, comment, inform and learn!

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