Firefighter Color Guard Axes at Right Shoulder

The “Magic White Glove Effect”

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how not to post the colors, Wash. D.C. Dept of Corrections Honor Guard

Evidence of little to no training for the DC Dept of Corrections Honor Guard

It’s truly amazing. One minute you are doing your job in your department or unit and then supervision comes in and chooses you and a couple of others “to be an honor guard” for an upcoming event. You have no idea what that means, but you have complete faith in your leadership as they hand out the white gloves that will go really well with your Class A uniform.

The day comes, you arrive a few minutes early for a briefing for the event, and then it happens. You don’t know exactly what has come over you but, as you slide your hands into your gloves, all of the sudden, you know every ceremonial detail that is required of you and your “voluntold” colleagues. You are now more knowledgeable than ever before and can perform your duties flawlessly. You can now proudly say that you can stand “Sharp, Crips, and Motionless” for whatever ceremonial requirement that comes your way. Because of your white gloves you are now a Ceremonial Guardsman!

During the ceremony however, you don’t have a clue as to the technicalities of what you are supposed to do, you feel, and most likely look, awkward and what you and your team are doing is probably an embarrassment to your department/unit. The list is endless as to how mistakes can be made and unforeseen problems arise.

Cadet joint service honor guard academy

Evidence of proper training for these Joint Service Honor Guard Cadets

Please get training; learn how to now make mistakes and seamlessly handle those unforeseen problems. Even a DrillMaster two- or three-day Honor Guard Clinic will give you a good idea of the what and how of each ceremonial element. For more complete training, a DrillMaster Honor Guard Academy in the 40- and 80-hour versions, which now offers Ceremonial Guardsman certification (DrillMaster Certified Ceremonial Guardsman– more information coming soon), is going to be the best way for you and your team to create an educational and training foundation. At least get The Honor Guard Manual, Second Edition, and read, read, read.

Or, you can rely on those awesome Magic White Gloves and their incredible ability to transform an every-day Joe into a Ceremonial Guardsman Joseph! The choice is yours.

The Difference Between Accuracy and Precision

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This video can be of great help to you in training.


Why is Drill Necessary in the Armed Forces?

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From India: why is drill necessary in the armed forces?

Thanks for the question!
Drill is life for some, but what about those trainees coming into the military through Basic Training and Boot Camp? Why do they have to drill unarmed and even armed?

Drill instills discipline, timing, teamwork, confidence, followership, leadership, coordination, togetherness, esprit de corps (spirit of the body- the unit), etc. It also helps trainees react immediately to commands; all of the qualities that an individual needs to accomplish the mission. Adding a rifle into drill helps the trainee become very familiar with that piece of equipment. The more familiar one is with their weapon, the better able they are to use it.

Drill is very necessary in initial training and as a refresher throughout one’s career. To understand this a bit better, watch this brief documentary on drill and ceremonies.

The DrillMaster Reading List

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Over time, I will update this list as needed. For now, educate yourself.

Many of the following manuals are the Resources page.

Service Drill and Ceremonies

  • Training Circular 3-21.5, Drill and Ceremonies
  • Marine Corps Order P5060.2 (with all four changes), Drill and Ceremonies
  • Air Force Manual 36-2203, Drill and Ceremonies

Regulation Drill Training (portable lesson plans)

Flag Information

  • AR 840-10, Flag, Guidons and Streamers
  • MCO 10520.3B, Flag Manual, Nov 2013
  • AFTO 00-25-154 AFD-091005-041 Maintenance & Storage of US, AF Flags, Guidons & Streamers
  • NTP13b, Flags, Pennants and Customs
  • US Flag Code


  • Dod Directive 1005.8, Order of Precedence of Members of Armed Forces of the United States When in Formations
  • AFPAM 34-1202, Protocol
  • AP 600-60, Army Protocol and Etiquette
  • AR 600-25, Salutes, Honors and Visits of Courtesy
  • OPNAVINST 1710.7A, Social Usage and Protocol Handbook


  • FM 23-5, M1 Garand
  • TM 9-1275, Maintenance of the M1 (1947, Parts 1-4)

Exhibition Drill

Ceremonial Drill Category

Drill and Ceremonies in History

These are not really necessary, but can give an interesting look at how American drill developed.

  • Field Manual 22-5, Drill and Ceremonies
  • Air Force Regulation 50-14, Drill and Ceremonies
  • FM 22-5, Drill and Ceremonies, 1939
  • FM 22-5, Drill and Ceremonies, 1943
  • FM2-5, Cavalry Drill, 1944
  • Baron von Steuben’s Revolutionary War Drill Manual: A Facsimile Reprint of the 1794 Edition

Relevant* Military History

  • The Last Frigate
  • The Drillmaster of Valley Forge

*Relevant to military drill


  • You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty: Water: For Health, for Healing, for Life, Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj
  • Water Cure, Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj
  • Fats That Heel, Fats That Kill, Dr. Udo Erasmus
  • The Complete Illustrated Guide to Vitamins, Denise Mortimer

The Difference Between Achievement and Success

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“My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is in you. Success is being praised by others. That is nice but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success.”
Helen Hayes

Photo courtesy,

Wearing the Mourning Band

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First responders have a black band that is worn over or around their badge/shield like what is pictured. The band signifies the loss of a colleague usually through a Line of Duty Death (LODD); the military equivalent to this would be an Active Duty Death.

Three questions arise:

How long should the department wear the band?

Thirty days is the usual standard for a department in mourning.

If the honor guard has ceremonies to perform within that 30 days that are not involved with the LODD, is it appropriate to still wear the band?

Yes, it is quite appropriate. The team is in mourning along with the rest of the department. The honor guard may deem it necessary to create guidance that requires the team to remove the band when performing other ceremonial duties (e.g. a parade).

Should the honor guard wear the band all of the time?

That would lessen the meaning of why the band is worn. While the team exists to provide honors for fallen colleagues, that is not its sole purpose.

Featured image courtesy of the Civil Service Supply Company.

Drill Team Technique

Regarding Competition

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Some, over the years, have said competition is a bad thing because little Johnny or Suzy get their feelings hurt. The instance given is the game Musical Chairs; all of the kids are running around then one doesn’t make it to a chair and “loses,” there is only one “winner.” What a sad way to look at such a fun game and what sheer contempt for something that is naturally created inside us.

Let’s go back to the game of Musical Chairs. Suzy just lost. What has she been taught at home? That “winning is everything!” or to join with the other kids and have FUN? Or have her parents left it up for her to learn that other kids can be real creeps and she just has to get over it? Actually, the last one, hopefully paired with the first one would be a good way to teach lessons about her upcoming life and how she may have to deal with adults who never learned how to be good people.

All of this comes down to: Competition is GOOD! But winning is not about getting first place! First place is great, but that’s all there is once you’ve achieved it at that moment and you have to do it all over again. Winning is about doing your personal best with what you have to work with (time, resources and education) and the feeling of pride that comes from doing your best.

Best Practices– This is what competitions should encourage, learning the what and how of the competitors and everyone becoming better.

Getting to practice every day = you’ve already won. You don’t need anyone else to compare you to another. When you want appropriate feedback which is what a competition can provide, then go, compete, it’s a good thing.

Once you place your emphasis on only winning, you’ve already lost.

Color in a Color Guard

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You may think that this is an oxymoron, of course there is color in a color guard- the team carried flags, hello! However, let’s look a little closer at some specifics.

High schools have a school song, motto, and even school colors. Those colors can really enhance rifles: yellow tape used to make stripes on a black rifle stock or blue on white, etc. there are so many options that an exhibition drill team can use! And then we come to Regulation Drill (RD).

Armed: I am aware of school JROTC budgets and would not demand that a drill team have two complete sets of rifles for competition, although that would be nice: one set with colored tape or stocks for the Exhibition Drill (XD) sequence and one for the RD sequence.

Unarmed: The same would go for an unarmed drill team: standard white gloves, belts, and ascots (if the team wears any of these items) for the RD sequence and then the colorful items for the XD sequence.

Even the gloves with the colorful flash palm are great for XD, but not for RD. Both glove pictures are from


I “Strenuously Object”

In the featured image at the top, you can see this JROTC team has rifles with a red stock. I apologize for the poor image quality. Just like “Color Guard Exhibition“, I find this kind of colorful addition to a color guard inappropriate.

The standard colors for rifle stocks are now brown, wood grain, black, and white. From rifle stocks that are a different color from the standard or highlight tape stripes on the stocks, to two-color gloves for the color team members, I strenuously object. However, just like Lt CDR JoAnne Galloway, in the movie, A Few Good Men, my objection probably won’t amount to much.

In any case, I have to get the information out that we all need to follow the standard outlined in the service manuals (military, JROTC, CAP, Sea Cadets) and not the “standard” that has been handed down from from last year’s seniors who were trained by the previous year’s seniors, etc., etc.


The Process to Become a Certified DrillMaster

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I offer the only trainer and adjudicator certification program for the Military Drill World. With each certification you then have the knowledge necessary to start creating a foundation of education for those you train. You can build on my knowledge and experience and go further!

This is an overview, please contact me to find out complete details.

Use the contact form at the front page.

Certified DrillMaster

This is for drill team and color guard trainer/coach and for an honor guard trainer. My books and manuals from each service are part of the courses for Regulation, Ceremonial, and Exhibition Drill.

All training is self-paced reading and then several tests.

World Drill Association Adjudicator

You will be a fully trained visual adjudicator for military drill!


Colors- The Leather Tab Issue

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I posted this on my Instagram account and realized that this really need to go to as wide and audience as possible.

Click here to read the article, How to Properly Mount a Flag on a Flagstaff. Yes, there is a correct and incorrect way to mount a color!

If you still have colors with leather tabs, secure them by a small screw and then tape. Eventually, the tab will disintegrate and you can have a seamstress sew in the new standard, which is the hook-and-pile fastener.

Most, if not all, colors now come with both parts of the hook-and-pile fastener (Velcro, or another brand) already attached at the top and bottom of the color, inside the pole hem. You still need to drill a small hole and put a small screw into the staff so that the adhesive doesn’t allow the flag to slide down the staff- learned that the hard way…