Tag Archives: merchant marines

Excellence is More Than “Clean”

“Clean” has many different definitions. In visual terms, however, we use it to mean, “having no needed corrections; easily readable”.

WHOA! what is this “easily readable” stuff, are we are talking about drill teams? Yes, drill teams are a part of the visual performance family. This family includes, dance, marching band, step, etc. Click here for my article explaining Readability.

See this article, The Difference between Accuracy and Precision. Accuracy: the quality or state of being correct, and, Precision: the quality, condition, or fact of being exact.

Excellence: the quality of being outstanding or extremely good.

More than just the absence of error
You will notice how there are timing and technique issues, but the audience is always mesmerized and fully appreciative of the drill team’s performances, no matter what service team performs. The military service drill teams strive for audience engagement. The way you can tell is the constant use (all of the service drill teams do this) of the basic manual with slight adaptations and very little advanced exhibition rifle manual. In fact, the teams usually pick 2 or 4 soloists that have a more advanced and wider vocabulary with the rest of the team using the adapted manual.

Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.

Harriet B. Braiker

Service Core Values and You

standards

Each Service several years ago began codifying what the service stands for and what standards the service members needed to uphold. Even if you are a first-year JROTC cadet, you need to take on these standards and make them your own. It will be so beneficial for you right away and in the long term.

Don’t follow the ways of all of the junk broadcast on TV and in movies. Set standards and maintain them. You can also go a step beyond that and exceed the standards.

In service order:

Army Pall Bearers_200x280US Army (LDRSHIP)

  1. Loyalty – Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other Soldiers.
  2. Duty – Fulfill your obligations.
  3. Respect – Treat people as they should be treated.
  4. Selfless Service – Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.
  5. Honor – Live up to all the Army values.
  6. Integrity – Do what’s right, legally and morally.
  7. Personal Courage – Face fear, danger, or adversity [physical or moral].

US Marine Corps

  • Marine ColorsHonor This is the bedrock of our character. It is the quality that empowers Marines to exemplify the ultimate in ethical and moral behavior: to never lie, cheat, or steal; to abide by an uncompromising code of integrity; to respect human dignity; and to have respect and concern for each other. It represents the maturity, dedication, trust, and dependability that commit Marines to act responsibly, be accountable for their actions, fulfill their obligations, and hold others accountable for their actions.
  • Courage The heart of our Core Values, courage is the mental, moral, and physical strength ingrained in Marines that sees them through the challenges of combat and the mastery of fear, and to do what is right, to adhere to a higher standard of personal conduct, to lead by example, and to make tough decisions under stress and pressure. It is the inner strength that enables a Marine to take that extra step.
  • Commitment This is the spirit of determination and dedication within members of a force of arms that leads to professionalism and mastery of the art of war. It promotes the highest order of discipline for unit and self and is the ingredient that instills dedication to Corps and country 24 hours a day, pride, concern for others, and an unrelenting determination to achieve a standard of excellence in every endeavor. Commitment is the value that establishes the Marine as the warrior and citizen others strive to emulate.

US Navy

HONOR

  • Navy Honor Guard from FlikrI am accountable for my professional and personal behavior. I will be mindful of the privilege I have to serve my fellow Americans. I will:
  • Abide by an uncompromising code of integrity, taking full responsibility for my actions and keeping my word.
  • Conduct myself in the highest ethical manner in relationships with seniors, peers and subordinates.
  • Be honest and truthful in my dealings within and outside the Department ofthe Navy.
  • Make honest recommendations to my seniors and peers and seek honest recommendations from junior personnel.
  • Encourage new ideas and deliver bad news forthrightly.
  • Fulfill my legal and ethical responsibilities in my public and personal life.

COURAGE

  • Courage is the value that gives me the moral and mental strength to do what is right, with confidence and resolution, even in the face of temptation or adversity. I will:
  • Have the courage to meet the demands of my profession.
  • Make decisions and act in the best interest of the Department of the Navy and the nation, without regard to personal consequences.
  • Overcome all challenges while adhering to the highest standards of personal conduct and decency.
  • Be loyal to my nation by ensuring the resources entrusted to me are used in an honest, careful and efficient way.

COMMITMENT

  • The day-to-day duty of every man and woman in the Department of the Navy is to join together as a team to improve the quality of our work, our people and ourselves. I will:
  • Foster respect up and down the chain of command.
  • Care for the personal and spiritual well-being of my people.
  • Show respect toward all people without regard to race, religion or gender.
  • Always strive for positive change and personal improvement.
  • Exhibit the highest degree of moral character, professional excellence, quality, and competence in all that I do.

US Air Force

THE FIRST CORE VALUE: INTEGRITY FIRST

911 Airlift Wing Res in PA flag on leftThe Airman is a person of integrity, courage and conviction.

Integrity is a character trait. It is the willingness to do what is right even when no one is looking. It is the moral compass, the inner voice, the voice of self-control and the basis for the trust imperative in today’s military.

Integrity is the ability to hold together and properly regulate all of the elements of a personality. A person of integrity, for example, is capable of acting on conviction. A person of integrity can control impulses and appetites.

But integrity also covers several other moral traits indispensable to national service.

Courage
A person of integrity possesses moral courage and does what is right even if the personal cost is high.

Honesty
Honesty is the hallmark of the military professional because, in the military, our word must be our bond. We don’t pencil-whip training reports, we don’t cover up tech data violations, we don’t falsify documents and we don’t write misleading operational readiness messages. The bottom line is: We don’t lie, and we can’t justify any deviation.

Responsibility
No person of integrity is irresponsible; a person of true integrity acknowledges his/her duties and acts accordingly.

Accountability
No person of integrity tries to shift the blame to others or take credit for the work of others. “The buck stops here” says it best.

Justice
A person of integrity practices justice. Those who do similar things must get similar rewards or similar punishments.

Openness
Professionals of integrity encourage a free flow of information within the organization. They seek feedback from all directions to ensure they are fulfilling key responsibilities, and they are never afraid to allow anyone at any time to examine how they do business.

Self-respect
To have integrity is also to respect oneself as a professional and a human being. A person of integrity does not behave in ways that would bring discredit upon himself/herself or the organization to which he/she belongs.

Humility
A person of integrity grasps and is sobered by the awesome task of defending the Constitution of the United States of America.

THE SECOND CORE VALUE: SERVICE BEFORE SELF

An Airman’s professional duties always take precedence over personal desires.

Service before self tells us that professional duties take precedence over personal desires. At the very least, it includes the following behaviors:

RULE FOLLOWING
To serve is to do one’s duty, and our duties are most commonly expressed through rules. While it may be the case that professionals are expected to exercise judgment in the performance of their duties, good professionals understand that rules have a reason for being – and the default position must be to follow those rules unless there is a clear, operational reason for refusing to do so.

RESPECT FOR OTHERS
Service before self, tells us also that a good leader places the troops ahead of his/her personal comfort. We must always act in the certain knowledge that all persons possess a fundamental worth as human beings.

DISCIPLINE AND SELF-CONTROL
Professionals cannot indulge themselves in self-pity, discouragement, anger, frustration or defeatism. They have a fundamental moral obligation to the persons they lead to strike a tone of confidence and forward-looking optimism. More specifically, they are expected to exercise control in the following areas:

Anger
Military professionals and especially commanders at all echelons are expected to refrain from displays of anger that would bring discredit upon themselves and/or the Air Force.

Appetites
Those who allow their appetites to drive them to make sexual overtures to subordinates are unfit for military service. Likewise, the excessive consumption of alcohol casts doubt on an individual’s fitness.

Religious toleration
Military professionals must remember that religious choice is a matter of individual conscience. Professionals – and especially commanders – must not take it upon themselves to change or coercively influence the religious views of subordinates.

THE THIRD CORE VALUE: EXCELLENCE IN ALL WE DO

Every American Airman strives for continual improvement in self and service.

Excellence in all we do directs us to develop a sustained passion for continuous improvement and innovation that will propel the Air Force into a long-term, upward spiral of accomplishment and performance.

PRODUCT/SERVICE EXCELLENCE
We must focus on providing services and generating products that fully respond to customer wants and anticipate customer needs, and we must do so within the boundaries established by the tax-paying public.

PERSONAL EXCELLENCE
Military professionals must seek out and complete professional military education, stay in physical and mental shape and continue to refresh their general educational backgrounds.

COMMUNITY EXCELLENCE
Community excellence is achieved when the members of an organization can work together to successfully reach a common goal in an atmosphere that is free from fear and that preserves individual self-worth. Some of the factors influencing interpersonal excellence are:

Mutual respect
Genuine respect involves viewing another person as an individual of fundamental worth. Obviously, this means that a person is never judged on the basis of his/her possession of an attribute that places him/her in some racial, ethnic, economic or gender-based category.

Benefit of the doubt
Working hand in glove with mutual respect is that attitude that says all coworkers are innocent until proven guilty. Before rushing to judgment about a person or his/her behavior, it is important to have the whole story.

RESOURCES EXCELLENCE
Excellence in all we do also demands that we aggressively implement policies to ensure the best possible cradle-to-grave management of resources.

Material resources excellence
Military professionals have an obligation to ensure that all of the equipment and property they ask for is mission essential. This means that residual funds at the end of the year should not be used to purchase “nice to have” add-ons.

Human resources excellence
Human resources excellence means that we recruit, train, promote and retain those who can do the best job for us.

OPERATIONS EXCELLENCE
There are two kinds of operations excellence: internal and external.

Excellence of internal operations
This form of excellence pertains to the way we do business internal to the Air Force from the unit level to Air Force Headquarters. It involves respect on the unit level and a total commitment to maximizing the Air Force team effort.

Excellence of external operations
This form of excellence pertains to the way in which we treat the world around us as we conduct our operations. In peacetime, for example, we must be sensitive to the rules governing environmental pollution, and in wartime we are required to obey the laws of war.

The Coast Guard Honor Guard stands in formation before the beginning of the Coast Guard's Veteran's Day wreathlaying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetary.  USCG photo by PA1 Adam EggersUS Coast Guard

  • Honor

Integrity is our standard. We demonstrate uncompromising ethical conduct and moral behavior in all of our personal actions. We are loyal and accountable to the public trust.

  • Respect

We value our diverse work force. We treat each other with fairness, dignity, and compassion. We encourage individual opportunity and growth. We encourage creativity through empowerment. We work as a team.

  • Devotion to Duty

We are professionals, military and civilian, who seek responsibility, accept accountability, and are committed to the successful achievement of our organizational goals. We exist to serve. We serve with pride.

 

Drill Team Recruitment and Retention

Program Motivation/Incentives

“A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.”
Napoleon Bonapart

recruitingThis is the reason, among others, that we in the military have ribbons, medals, badges and other awards. The same for JROTC and all cadet and even scouting programs.

Ribbons and shoulder cords are worn on the standard uniform and help let everyone know that that cadet does something special, something above and beyond the norm. Special uniform accouterments (belts, gloves, spats, berets, etc.) help further provide a distinction from other cadets.

Leadership positions. While rank does go along with responsibility, sometimes rank must catch up to the position. Be that as it may, the most qualified should be put in as drill team and color guard commanders, assistant commanders, squad leaders, etc. Cadets must know that when someone in a leadership position speaks, everyone under that cadet needs to do as told, regardless of rank (e.g. a cadet captain is part of the drill team, but his squad leader is a cadet sergeant).

Training Positions. In the (marching band) color guard world, there are different instructors for each subsection of the guard, 1) Head Instructor; 2) Weapon Technician (rifle and saber); 3) Flag Technician; and 4) Movement Technician. For a JROTC drill team, you can have something similar.

A drill team could have a rifle tech and a movement/marching tech. while these other positions require some leadership qualities, they are mainly concerned with training cadets in their assigned specialty, ensuring standardization among the cadets and standardization over time (ensuring cadets maintain their initial training throughout the school year).

Have interested members write the drill and then design the rifle and/or body work that will be layered over the drill. They can download, print and use the DrillMaster Routine Mapping Tool to fit their needs (click here to go to the Downloads page, scroll down and you will see the tools listed there).

Use your imagination, keep the team members engaged- the sky is the limit!

 

JROTC Recruitment and Fundraising

fundraisingJROTC has not had the funding available to do many things over the last 2 years and I believe that it will either remain the same or become worse over time. Therein lies two issues, 1) recruitment of cadets and, 2) funding.

A little while back, I posted on Instagram that I wanted cadets to send me their ideas on fundraising that they do at their school to help defray the costs of drill team, color guard, etc. and some of the ideas spilled over into how to recruit students into the corps. Some of the ideas I already had, but there were also several good ideas to come from my request.

Recruiting Cadets
High schools are “fed” by middle or elementary schools. If the middle school does not already have some sort of military-based program, cadets in JROTC need to interact with students in the eighth grade to give them a taste of what cadet life can be like. Examples of this are doing PT with students at the middle school and/or having the drill team work with interested cadets once a month after school. Any positive interaction is a must. See also the article The JROTC “Feeder” Program. and How to Plan and Coordinate a Color Guard Event has some recruiting information as well from a Civil Air Patrol perspective.

Two-Fold Ideas
Community involvement. Having cadets seen by others as well involved in the community as servant-leaders is an outstanding idea. Cadets by the side of the road cleaning up, marching in parades, presenting the colors for the school board, elementary/middle schools, the county board of directors, veteran organizations, or providing a cordon for VIPs at a community event, will go a long way to establish concrete relations with local people, organizations and businesses.

Performing in the community then generates interest from younger students who see cadets in uniform performing at events and everyone who might be able to donate to the program who see the same thing or even just hear of cadet involvement. Everyone wins in these situations while your team or even the whole unit is perceived as a valuable asset.

Fundraising
The typical school fundraiser. Each year one of the schools where I teach the morning drill class and work the after-school drill programs, one of the cadets came to me selling cheesecake and she knew (she graduated!) that I would be good for purchasing one of the items. I don’t eat sweets all that much at all, so the first year I just handed a slice out to my drill class cadets. This is what most parents do, they know that $20 here and there will help a worthwhile program and do not mind shelling it out once or twice a year.

Atypical fundraisers. Golf outings, raffles. Fundraising-Ideas.org.

The “Ship Store”. One of the cadets offering advice mentioned that her NJROTC unit has what they call a Ship Store where they sell all kinds of things including school supplies and snacks to the whole student body. The store is open to all students before and after school and during lunch and open to cadets throughout the day. Cadet volunteers manage the store under the oversight of the instructors and they make a considerable amount of money.

JROTC Booster Club. If parents or other local interested adults are not involved in the program, it’s time to get them involved. It takes one hour a month for the meeting and a few hours of work after that.

Cadets, instructors and parents are going to have to find ways to raise funds to make their extra-curricular programs work and work well. Hopefully, this article has brought your unit one step closer to accomplishing that. If you have a unique idea, please comment on this article.

 

Drill Team and Honor Guard Training

ff785d98-1551-4a5f-a934-bb218127ea61.jpgTraining, Practice and Rehearsal, three different types of well, practice. Here is an article on the Difference Between Practice and Rehearsal and an article on the Difference Between Practice and Training.

Whether you are on a first responder or military honor guard or a JROTC/ROTC drill team, your responsibilities are the same to a point: develop your skills, keep them sharp and, if you can, learn new skills.

How to Run a Competitive Drill Team Practice
You must cover these areas at drill team practice: Inspection, Regulation Drill and Exhibition Drill. There is one other area to cover whether drill team members or other cadets, color team (color guard). If the color team members are also drill team members then, obviously, you will have to have these cadets practice their sequence either on their own or for part of the drill team practice.

Scheduling your time between platoon/flight and squad/element regulation sequences, then moving on to the exhibition sequence and even then working in color team(s) into the mix can be quite a challenge.

Inspection
Find out the layout of the next competition’s inspection area and work to enter and exit the area with the team.

I remember when I marched on my JROTC team and we had a very small room (on purpose) for the inspection area. We marched 17 members with fourth squad entering first, then third, second, first and me last, the commander. The team formed up at the back of the room with just enough space for the judge to walk behind 4th element and we opened ranks perfectly and then it began. What I do not remember is how we exited. Practice marching into a small area/room by squad/element using “(Column of Files) File from the Right” command.

We did very well my four years on the team because we had dedicated cadets and, what was even more important, we had dedicated instructors.

Regulation Drill
Armed and unarmed platoon/flight and squad/element sequences can take the least amount of practice if you have created a solid foundation of drill and ceremonies in your JROTC program. All cadets should at least be familiar with all stationary drill (standing manual), flanks and columns. Proper execution of each movement is key and then working on alignment and distance should follow.

All team members should read applicable D&C manuals and the Commander(s) should eat, sleep and breathe the regulation sequence command list until it is completely memorized.

Colors
The color team is part of regulation drill, but needs very specific attention. The uncase and case parts of the sequence must be accomplished per a mixture of the Army Training Circular and your service’s D&C manual. Yes, a mixture. Click here and read this article for a complete explanation.

First responder honor guards need to practice their procedures for competitions and performances.

Exhibition Drill
This is also where that solid D&C foundation will help, plus personal practice time. Creating an effective routine takes time, teaching it takes time and, finally, practicing it takes time.

All of the parts of a drill competition take a great deal of time and you must find a balance. If your teams practice for two hours every day after school, you will be able to find that balance with relative ease. If you practice Tuesdays and Thursdays for an hour-and-a-half, that balance will be more difficult- but it is doable.

What do I recommend? Start early- even during the summer and teach new cadets all they must know for regulation drill to be perfect in their execution. Then, run through those regulation sequences twice a week to keep them fresh in everyone’s memory, with the rest of the time spent on exhibition.

Lastly, give 100%, 100% of the time. Each time you practice make that practice seem like a performance on the competition field and be professional. If you can do your best with the resources you have and come in 8th place and still know that you gave your all, trophies will never matter.

The Military Cordon

Military cordons (two lines of people, armed or unarmed, facing each other) are used for arrival/departure ceremonies and awards banquets. Here is a video I created with my outstanding cadets from Merritt Island High School in Florida.

If you have any questions, please ask.

Drill Team and Honor Guard Unit Training

Training Pic Doris DayIn the military, we train. And we train, and train and train. We have major training scenarios (exercises) that involve multiple services and other countries, we have them for a single military installation, single unit training, all the way down to military specialty and ancillary training for each individual. It’s time consuming, but well worth the effort. After all, lives are at stake.

This amount of training is what you would expect from a superb military- training to ensure everything goes according to plan- from the big-picture war games down to the single individual who needs to upgrade to the next skill level. And as a former Air Force Unit Education and Training Manager (UTM, for short), I am well aware that training forms the foundation of all we do.

The Master Task List/Master Training Plan
One of the key tools that every shop or office has is the Master Task List (MTL). As you can guess, it is a list of all of the tasks, broken down by skill level for each military job: MOS/AFSC (Military Occupational Specialty/Air Force Specialty Code).

Sometimes combined with the MTL, the Master Training Plan (MTP), as the name states, is a description of the plan for upgrade/recurring training that each member of the shop/office follows.

The Training Record
The other document of which every single service member has a copy, is their On-the-Job Training Record. This stays with you while in the service and has every task imaginable for a specific specialty. Many are electronic now with very few probably still in a folder in a file cabinet.

What all of this has to do with you
If you are on an honor guard, I have already created a downloadable PDF Training Record for you, one that covers every aspect of honor guard duties. Here is the MTL/MTP for download.

If you are on a drill team, you can use the same kinds of documents to track training. In JROTC/ROTC it may not be the most practical since cadets are on the team for four years and then gone- however, if schools adopt this system, those who move from high school to college could take their training plan with them. Here is a sample Drill Team Training Record and here is a sample MTL/MTP to get you started.

Have  plan, that is what is going to be your best bet in the long run. Write things down- even drill move ideas or additions you think should go into the training plan. Discuss training: who, when, how long. The more planning you do, the less running around you will do later.

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