The Drill Meet

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drill meet, drill competitionWhat is a Drill Meet?

In America, the drill meet, after putting in hours of hard work designing, choreographing, practicing, rewriting and practicing some more, is a competition for drill teams, Drillers and color teams (NOTE: military-based: “color team;” music-based: “color guard“). The organizations that compete are each services’ Jr., high school, and Sr., college, Reserve Officer Training Corps, Army Cadets, Young Marines, Sea Cadets, Civil Air Patrol, private schools and academies and also independent Drillers and teams.

What are the Competitive Phases of a Meet?

Armed, unarmed, colors, inspection, regulation and exhibition. Solo, tandem, tetrad, squad and platoon. Here is the breakdown:

There are two divisions for competitions: armed and unarmed. Armed teams carry some type of equipment:

  • Rifle (M1 Garand, M14, M1903 or equivalent)
  • Swords/sabers
  • Flags
  • Teams can also march a guidon who carries the standard or a modified guidon

Unarmed teams do not carry a piece of equipment, but can have a guidon.

A typical drill meet has the following phases for platoons/flights in both divisions:

  1. Inspection (IN): a platoon/flight goes through a rigorous inspection.
  2. Regulation Drill (RD): a platoon/flight march within a marked-off area of 50′ x 50′ using all of the commands from their service’s drill and ceremonies manual. Timed.
  3. Exhibition Drill (XD): a platoon’s/flight’s drill routine marched within a marked-off area of 50′ x 50′ using the Drillers’ imagination. Timed.

These phases are the minimum in which a team must compete to be eligible for the overall trophy. Usually, first, second and third place trophies are awarded in each phase for each division.

Other regulation-type phases:

  • Color Guard (CG): a team of four march within a marked-off area of 30′ x 30′ following a set list of commands. Timed.
  • Posting Colors: a team of four march within a marked-off area to post the colors.
  • Open Color Guard(c): a team of four march within a marked-off area of 30′ x 30′ using all of the commands, in any order, for colors. Timed.
  • Open Regulation Drill(c): a platoon/flight march within a marked-off area of 50′ x 50′ using all of the commands from their service’s drill and ceremonies manual, in any order. Timed.
  • Casket Watch*: a team of at least four (usually five), post two watches for a mock casket watch.
  • Mock Funeral*: a mock full honors funeral (Pall Bearers, Firing Party, Colors and bugler)
  • Two-Man Flag Fold*: a team of two or three enter, fold the flag and present it to the mock next of kin (NOK)
  • Six-Man Flag Fold*: a team of six or seven enter, fold the flag and present it to the mock next of kin (NOK)
  • WDA Ultimate Inspection(c): a single member from a drill team inspected inside and out, top to bottom.

*These phases are incorporated into the drill meet when honor guards (military, police, fire, EMS, veteran organizations, etc.) are involved.

Other exhibition phases:

  • Solo: a single Driller’s drill routine marched within a marked-off area of 30′ x 30′ using the Driller’s imagination. Timed.
  • Tandem: Two Drillers’ drill routine marched within a marked-off area of 30′ x 30′ using the Drillers’ imagination. Timed.
  • Tetrad: a drill routine consisting of four or five Drillers (the fifth is the commander) marched within a marked-off area of 30′ x 30′ using the Drillers’ imagination. Timed.

For more information about drill meets, please see The WDA Adjudication Manual. See also how to judge military drill.

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