Two days before Thanksgiving 2013, my wife, Becky, and I packed up the RV and took off on a three-month adventure. Becky is a retired USAF nurse (Maj.) and was looking forward to the break and getting back into her artwork. I was ready to get on the road and begin my mobile training.
Honor Guard Academies: Texas
McAllen is almost as far south as you can get in America and I had 2 40-hour DrillMaster Honor Guard Academies for firefighters to teach there. We pulled in to our RV camp site and I shuttled back and forth for each day’s training. What a privilege it is to work with first responders and these firefighters and EMS personnel came from several different departments from as far away as Killeen.I also had plans to meet with the cadets from Mission High School, right next door to McAllen, but with semester exams, it just wasn’t workable. We reworked our plans to meet on my return in February. More pictures are here.
Two weeks and two graduations later, Becky and I were headed to Roswell. New Mexico.
Roswell is home to New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) and NMMI is home to the cadet mascots Colts and Broncos. Why 2 mascots? The school is a 4-year high school and a 2-year Jr. college. For this visit I worked with the high school JROTC drill team, Goss Rifles.
The team is in the rebuilding stages, but is doing such a great job. Improvement has been seen weekly since the beginning of school. I was there to help tighten up the routine concentrating on visual aspects that team members were not aware of. It’s great to see light bulbs go on over heads. :-) I’ll work with the team again on when Becky and I pass through again. More pictures are here.
Family Visit and Sea Cadet Training
Christmas was just a few days away and Becky and I had a great time at my father’s house and visiting with family in the Phoenix area. During Christmas week, I had the task of training a Sea Cadets battalion for a weekend and then work specifically with cadets who wanted to form their first exhibition drill team. It was a task that I loved! They were great cadets who were willing to learn and all of them, except one, had never done any kind of exhibition drill. More pictures are here.
Honor Guard Academy: California
Becky and I pulled in to Pleasanton after spending a week with our daughter and her new husband and seeing friends in Vacaville.During our stay I met Vacaville police officer John Uldall and MSgt Joe Matulewics who are both former members of the USAF Honor Guard. John works with the cadets at the Public Safety Academy in Fairfield and I had the opportunity to work with the cadet honor guard for an afternoon. Joe and I met after not seeing each other for almost 10 years. He was one of my trainees for the Kadena Air Base Honor Guard on Okinawa, Japan, and then did a long stint with the AF Team after that.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and UC Berkeley Police Department got together for an 80-hour DrillMaster Honor Guard Academy and the ACSO people had a 3-day DrillMaster Exhibition Drill for Adults Seminar. The last Friday of each academy culminates with a full honors mock funeral where all participants get dressed in their ceremonial uniform. If you didn’t know any better, you would think it was a real funeral: a flag-draped casket, color team, pall bearers, cordon (what first responders call the “Wall of Honor”), police and fire chiefs, a hearse and bier. Everything as realistic as possible. More pictures are here.
Visits to several high schools on our way back to Florida and once we are home, continuing work with the local drill teams that I work with and work on more books and articles. Also working on the DrillMaster South Africa Project- more to come on that. I say “work” but, believe me, ths is what I love to do and if you can do what you love, you never work another day!
honor guard training, drill team training, color guard