It took three months to create the final version of the Ultra-Reinforced DrillMaster bayonet. The DrillMaster worked with the Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team and Supply Airmen to create this extremely reinforced bayonet.
The picture below is the final version. extra spot welds and a small plate of steel to reinforce the handle. This DrillMaster Bayonet* is the Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team’s new practice bayonet.
How it Began
An Airman on the current AFHG Drill Team, SrA Jason Black, contacted my about my bayonets since they do not have a sharp edge or point- a much safer alternative than what they use in performances. The issue was training new members of the team and having them more comfortable with not only spinning a rifle, but having a bayonet on the end.
The Welded DrillMaster Bayonet was the answer, or so we thought. That and two more versions broke after training with it for a while. They needed something extremely strong to take the rigors of a new drill team member constantly dropping the rifle without the constant breakage that the team experienced. SrA Gabriel Goldsborough and finally, A1C Johnathen Howard finished the whole process.
Military-type exhibition Drillers around the world are looking more and more into developing their own uniform.
Creating your own uniform sounds great- after all that is what I did!
Copying a military service, law enforcement or firefighter uniform is perfectly acceptable. Many law enforcement and firefighter dress uniforms are based off of military dress uniforms. However, wearing a service’s uniform without being a veteran or cadet of that service would be frowned upon. Caution: Wearing a specific service’s uniform, without being a member of that service or service’s cadet program, is highly frowned upon. That is not to say that, when you wear a uniform that you have created, you will not be mistaken for a “soldier” of some sort. That’ is OK. Remember, wearing any kind of uniform may create some kind of question as to who you are or what you do. Explaining the situation and not wearing the uniform at any other time except for performances will work the best.
Think “uniform” and not “dress shirt and slacks” because it will look like you are wearing a dress shirt and slacks. You’re not just “dressing up,” you are dressing for the part. “Sunday-go-to-meetin’s” is not dressing for the part.
Here are some ideas of work-type uniforms. If you go with a 511 set of blue “BDUs” (for instance, the pant and the shirt), this is something that is easily recognizable as a uniform and is nondescript It may not be what you are thinking of, but it is along the lines of a military-style uniform and this is the style you are looking to pull off to create the military flavor (click here for an article on Military Flavor) look of the performance.
Here’s an idea, create a persona- this is easier for a soloist, tandem or tetrad, but can be accomplished for a larger team. Create a routine that uses a special uniform on purpose (WWII, law enforcement, gangster, cowboy, etc.). Uniform also equals costume. Not necessarily a story book costume, but something that enhances the persona that you want. But remember, military flavor.
What makes a “uniform”? Trousers, a shirt, (optional- a jacket/blouse), shoes and a cover/hat. It’s about design and color. For great insight on this, I’d like to introduce my friend, Brent Becker, a uniform designer for marching bands and drum and bugle corps, has done extensive research into what makes a uniform and the history of uniforms (read an outstanding article of his here: RE-Defined: A New Look At Uniforms).
Brent designs for musical ensembles, but the door is wide open for military uniforms. As a matter of fact, did you know that the Air Force Honor Guard wears a different uniform from the rest of the Air Force? Slight changes in design and material, but these are hardly noticeable. The contract for making the USAFHG uniform was awarded to DeMoulin, another uniform company that makes marching band and other uniforms just like Standury, the company that Brent works with.
Exhibition drill is ripe for uniform design for teams across the country. My hope is that teams begin to explore the opportunities an exhibition performance uniform creates.
Here is what he has to say on our subject of creating military-styled uniforms:
From my perspective, you’re absolutely on the right track. So much of the literature I’ve read on this matter refers to these garments as “Military Costuming.” This can be a bit of a head scratcher, since even today, the term “costume” is frowned upon even in more theatrical venues. However, your notion of developing a persona is an intriguing one, as it opens itself up to a physical manifestation of said character portrayal through wardrobe – this is the essence of theatrical costuming design and as such, where we encounter a relatively undefined zone in the philosophy of uniforms.
Speaking mainly from the standpoint of musical groups, much of my philosophy revolves around this idea that, a) uniform purchases are tremendous investments and that they should be, b) based upon the intrinsic values and performance demands of a specific unit within their given time and place.
Again, this is kind of an “easy out” and it doesn’t define anything per se, but it lends certain academic credence to your statement concerning costuming.
Perhaps more important here is the facet of “how” the articles of clothing in question are worn or presented. In the earliest records of European military-issued uniforms, they were part of a compensatory package – a “perk” if you will, of joining up – a man who enlisted received an overcoat emblazoned with colors and markings significant to his master or nation/state. For an impoverished peasant, this was a tremendous and cherished offering! King/Country was literally putting clothing on his back – and very often, that garment would be the absolute finest article that that man would ever wear – hence the long-standing tradition of men marrying in uniform! So dressy without being too flamboyant. Refined and mature without appearing stuffy and droll.
Uniforms in the European military tradition were also seen as something of a extension of the Colors – banners, standards, and other symbols representing Divinity, Ruler, Nation, City, Unit, etc. As a representational extension of those institutions, it is approached with utmost reverence and honor. Hence, to be referred to as “a disgrace to the uniform” is to accuse its wearer of disrespecting that which the uniform represents. So, without directly taking a serviceman’s uniform and copying it, let’s think about what those colors and symbols mean to the people who wear them and the citizens they defend. I’d recommend a sort of, “reverse engineering” of government issued attire – think about the image those uniforms create and for what they stand [emphasis mine -DM]. What can a military Driller assemble on their own to present that same-said essence?
I guess my point in all this comes back to my contextual/art & design stance – When is a uniform “military” in nature? Certainly when it appropriates physical accouterments of government-issued apparel. Sight lends itself to immediacy in the mind of most observers and as such, a visual suggestion of militaria immediately connects such a uniform to the armed forces and service organizations. But I would think the underlying motive driving one’s choice of military costuming must be considered – and this ties right back into your earlier notion about developing personae – in other words, if going with a military-inspired outfit, why? Is the Driller in question presenting an outward manifestation of honor, duty, sacrifice, patriotism, strength, precision, loyalty, etc.? If so, what kinds of lines, shapes, colors, or existing symbols can be used to suggest those otherwise intangible elements? Again, I know it’s subjective, but I would honestly leave this more open on the grounds of individual preferences within their given context. Perhaps advise striking a balance between a very standard military image and creating a unique, lasting impression, especially when adjudication is a factor.
Many ready-to-use slings that you will purchase are quite long and cannot be completely secured without using tape and the tape then makes that part of the sling sticky and other issues can arise from using tape on the sling. Here is an easy way to shorten a sling ensuring safe spinning without the sling flapping around.
Before I get into cutting and adjusting pre-sewn slings, you can also use the information below to cut and use your own slings that you can buy in 50-yard rolls (without metal attachments). This website has a great selection of colors for rifle web slings which can also be used as belts.
The standard nylon sling that comes with the Daisy Drill Rifle. The sling clasp is laying next to it:
The same sling now with about 6 or 7 inches cut off the end. Now you can see the other piece of hardware, the sling retaining piece (that the sling is threaded through and then sewn down), from the cut off end. You can melt the end of nylon slings so that they will not fray. Don’t catch it on fire, just hold the flame near the end so that it slowly melts.
When cutting multiple slings, use the same sling as a measuring guide to cut the others or you will have small differences in sling lengths.
This picture is of the sling quick-change device that is always attached on the rifle’s bottom sling swivel. You can leave this hooked on the rifle, or remove it, your choice. Leaving it on gives you the ability to create sound.
Putting the sling back on the rifle. At the cut end, loop it through the sling retaining piece and through the lower sling swivel or the sling quick-change device.
Now, feed the cut end of the sling back through the sling retaining piece so that it protrudes about a half inch. Now, pull the slack of the sling through while holding onto the half inch of sling sticking out of the sling retaining piece. A standard for honor guards is to have the sling retaining piece centered on the small groove on the top of the rifle butt.
Put the sling clasp back on the sling, pinch the sling at the sides to insert the sides of the sling underneath the pins of the sling clasp. You can put the clasp on the sling so that the solid piece faces the rifle or faces away from it (also see next picture). Thanks to Melbourne (FL) High School AFJROTC Cadet Vaughn for the use of his hands in this picture.
Feed the sling through the upper sling swivel so that it goes toward the rifle or away from it (this depends on the way you attached the clasp). If you need to perform Sling Arms (for JROTC colors competitions only), you will want to thread the clasp and sling like the picture below. You will want the sling to extend about 4 inches from the clasp.
For all other applications, a sling and clasp setup like this will work very well. Pull the sling tight and place the clasp as close to the end of the sling (with the metal tab) as possible.
Many Drillers who are not aware of what the stacking swivel is and what it is used for assume it is another swivel for attaching a sling, especially since most slings purchased today are very unnecessarily long (if you cut about 6 inches off of the sewn end, it will fit just fine). Here is a typical example:
Even some staff members at Daisy are unaware of purpose of the stacking swivel (image courtesy Daisy.com).
FYI: the nomenclature of a rifle:
The M1 Garand Nomenclature
The Stacking Swivel
This part of the rifle was used constantly used when the rifles were first made (M1903 was made in 1903…). You don’t see it on modern rifles because their either too short (more mobility for the military), or if they are long (variants of the M1903 and M14 are still going strong today mainly as sniper rifles), their use is small in scope and not many rifles like them are issued in a units (unlike long ago, when everyone in the unit had the same rifle) making the stacking swivel useless (no other rifles to hang around with).
Years ago (as far back as Colonial times and as recently as WWII, and currently, in some cases), Soldiers needed to be able to leave their rifles in a certain area without laying them down in the mud and water. The Army developed the command and procedure, Stack, ARMS. Like Sling Arms, the procedure is not meant to be executed sharply, in unison. Every three Soldiers would be a group to Stack Arms.
As you can see from the picture at left, the rifles form a tripod and thus stay out of the mud and grime. Stack Arms is an alternative to Ground Arms (not as sharp, though) for firing parties of certain funerals where the pall bearers also pull duty as firing party if necessary. The picture below shows how three rifles (Daisy Drill Rifle M1903 replica rifle) are put together for Stack Arms.
Civil War Era rifles at Stack Arms
Courtesy of Katelynthomasphotography.com
Soldiers in Formation (WWII era?) with Rifle at Stack Arms
“We are the makers of rifles, and we are the dreamers of dreams”
The M1917 “American Enfield” (9lbs. used from 1917 to mid 1960s, eventually replaced by the M1903)
Winchester, Remington and Eddystone (Baldwin Locomotive Works in Eddystone, Pennsylvania).
The British made the Lee Enfield Rifles which date from the late 1800s to the present day. Numerous version were created, rifles numbered 1, 2, 3 & 4, and different alterations were made to each version resulting in Mark I, II, III, and IV. Photo: Enfield Mark I from 1903, courtesy wikimedia.com
Drill-Specific Replicas: The L59A1 & L98A2 (Britain only, called “DPs” for Drill Purpose); the L59A1, modeled after the Mark 4, is OK exhibition drill, the L98A2 is not.
The M1903 (used from 1903 to 1937, eventually replaced by the M1 Garand)
Many call this the Spingfield M1903, but this is not correct all the time as Smith-Corona, Rock Island Arsenal and Remington Arms made this rifle as well.
Drill-Specific Replicas: the Glendale DrillAmerica M1903A3 and the Daisy Drill Rifle M1903A3.
The M1 Garand (used from 1936 to 1966, eventually replaced by the M14)
Springfield Armory is probably best known as the maker of this rifle but, Winchester, International Harvester, Harrington & Richardson and Baretta also made Garands.
Drill-Specific Replicas: the Glendale DrillAmerica M1 Garand.
The M14 (10lbs, used from 1959 to 1970, eventually replaced by the M16)
Springfield Armory, Winchester, Harrington & Richardson and Thompson-Ramo-Wooldridge, Inc. (TRW)
Drill-Specific Replicas: the DrillMaster M14 (currently, only prototype).
What does all of this information mean to you, the Driller? If you want a demil’d rifle, don’t just look for what seems to be the most popular name. There are many more out there.
FYI, the quote is a rewording of something Willy Wonka said in the original movie.