The Column Half Left (Right)

DrillMaster Drill Teams, Instructional 0 Comments

Here is what the Army says:

To change the direction of a column by 45 degrees, the command is Column Half Right (Left), MARCH. On the command MARCH, the leading airman of the right (left) flank advances one full 24- inch step, pivots 45 degrees to the right (left) on the ball of the left (right) foot, and advances another full 24-inch step, maintaining coordinated arm swing. The Airman then takes up the half step and continues in a half step until each member in his or her rank is abreast of each other. Then all members of that rank resume a full 24-inch step. In the meantime, the remaining individuals of the leading rank pivot 45 degrees to the right (left), with coordinated arm swing and without changing the interval, and continue marching in full 24-inch steps until they are abreast of the base file. At this point, they conform to the step of the individual in the right (left) flank and establish the proper interval. The remaining airmen in each file march to the approximate pivot point established by the element leader and perform the movement in the same manner. They then dress to their right and cover directly behind the person in front of them.

Here is what the Air Force says (same thing, basically):

(Squad) To change the direction of march 90 or 45 degrees when marching, the preparatory command Column Right (Left) or Column Half Right (Half Left) is given as the foot (in the desired direction) strikes the marching surface. The command of execution MARCH is given the next time the foot in the desired direction strikes the marching surface. On the command of execution MARCH, the lead man takes one additional step, pivots in the commanded direction as the pivot foot strikes the marching surface, and continues to march in the new direction. Other members continue to march forward and execute the pivot as prescribed from the Halt.

(Platoon) To change the direction of a column by 45 degrees, the command is Column Half Right (Left), MARCH. On the command MARCH, the leading airman of the right (left) flank advances one full 24- inch step, pivots 45 degrees to the right (left) on the ball of the left (right) foot, and advances another full 24-inch step, maintaining coordinated armswing. The Airman then takes up the half step and continues in a half step until each member in his or her rank is abreast of each other. Then all members of that rank resume a full 24-inch step. In the meantime, the remaining individuals of the leading rank pivot 45 degrees to the right (left), with coordinated armswing and without changing the interval, and continue marching in full 24-inch steps until they are abreast of the base file. At this point, they conform to the step of the individual in the right (left) flank and establish the proper interval. The remaining airmen in each file march to the approximate pivot point established by the element leader and perform the movement in the same manner. They then dress to their right and cover directly behind the person in front of them.

Here is what the Navy/Marine Corps says:

[Cue crickets chirping- there is no description that I can find, so you follow the Arny’s guidance]

Here is what it looks like:

Here is what the feet will look like:

  • Fourth Element/Squad takes a full step and executes Half Step,
  • Third Element/Squad takes approximately 4 full steps and should be in line to pick up Half Step,
  • Second Element/Squad takes approximately 6 to 8 full steps and should be in line to pick up Half Step,
  • Third Element/Squad takes approximately 8 to 10 full steps and should be in line so that everyone can now resume full steps.

Yes, I actually measured the whole process. Below is a picture of how I did it using my shoes and a pair of my wife’s. :-)

Before we get into today’s article, keep the following in mind; just FYI stuff:

  1. The USAF considers the depth of a person (chest-to-back) to be approximately 12 inches.
  2. The USAF also considers the width of a person (shoulder-to-shoulder) to be approximately 22 inches.
  3. In a column formation, the distance between to people (one’s back to the other’s front) each service uses a distance of 40 inches.
  4. The distance from one’s shoulder to another’s shoulder is always said to be “an arm’s length” in each manual. While I set up the shoes above, I did some measuring of my own and found that my arm from shoulder to fingertip is about 23 inches long. Using that measurement and those that the USAF uses as guidelines, I found that from the center of one individual to another (in a flight or platoon formation) the distance to each side and to the front and back all equals about 46 inches. Even though my artistic abilities are not wonderful, tt looks like this:

 

 

Leave a Reply