Yes, it is another Joint Service Drill Competition that is now in the history books! This year’s competition also included a performance from the Tulane University Mardis Gras Drill Meet champions, the Merchant Marine Academy Drill Team.
I judged each team on the World Drill Association Adjudication System’s Overall Effect caption. The scores I gave each team are in the parenthesis next to the team’s name. The score is out of 100/100.; the “what/”how.”
Merchant Marine Academy (50/45)
The cadets wowed the audience with their ability to have lift two cadets in the air and have them drill! This performance was a fist for the JSDC and also for the MMA. Congratulations to them for this ground-breaking performance with the service drill teams!
Coast Guard (55/54)
The Coasties put on a fine performance departing from their standard performance from previous years. I must say that I really appreciate the new program, it contained some very effective moments and was programmed much better than before. I talked with the Coast Guard judge before the competition and let him know that I understood the issue that the CG Honor Guard has: The Coast Guard is the smallest service, the Honor Guard is the smallest unit of the service honor guards and is the drill team is made up of volunteers who practice when they can. All of the members are trained on every aspect of honor guard ceremonies (pall bearer, firing party, colors) and perform each of the duties constantly. Drill team is not high on the priority list which is very understandable. Still, I really enjoyed this new routine!
These guys had a bad day, or at least some of the guys who were constantly hit by bayonets, had a bad day. Unfortunately, problems were an unfortunate addition to the Silent Drill Platoon’s routine. The Marines have completely mastered their basic manual and can execute these rifle movements in their sleep. This was the standard SDP routine with the crowd favorite rifle inspection.
A good performance. I didn’t notice much if any change from previous years’ routines. However, the Sailor performing the solo did a super job- until his bayonet met his aiguillette. He still kept going not allowing the “wardrobe malfunction” to interfere with the rest of his solo.
Air Force (80/80)
Wow. I was so impressed with their newer routine: much better programming and some excellent rifle work from all members of the 12-man team. The AF never had a reason to create a 12-man team/routine until now. The JSDC time limit is 15 mins and the AF’s 15-man routine is about 21 mins. What to do? Start on 9 April with a new routine! Yes, a week of training went into this performance!
The crowd loved the moment during the tetrad (pictured below) when the four Drillers poked the commander with their bayonets trying to make him move- he was rock-solid, of course! The Air Force team was this year’s winner!
The defending champions marched an SPC Andres Ryan-written drill. This routine had it all: great transitions, eye-catching movements, four soloists and then SPC Ryan as the featured soloist!
I was so fortunate to meet onlookers who were curious about the competition and about my uniform, students, parents, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and my fellow judges from each service. What a day, what a blessing!
See you next year!