A question I received: how can you not move your head when your doing the 15-Count Manual of Arms?
Answer: The 15-Count Manual of Arms (the command is: “15-Count, Manual, ARMS“) accomplished either stationary or while marching is, from Order Arms:
- Right Shoulder (1, 2, 3, 4)
- Left Shoulder (5, 6, 7, 8)
- Present Arms (9, 10, 11)
- Order Arms (12, 13, 14, 15)
Where your head seems to get in the way is going to and from Right Shoulder. When executing Right Shoulder and any movements from Right Shoulder, these movements take the rifle right next to the head and many who handle the rifle for the first time try to move their head around the rifle and not the rifle around their head. It takes practice, much practice, proper technique and muscle memory.
Executing Right Shoulder
From Port Arms and without moving the rifle from the Port position, drop the right hand to the end of the butt stock, now grasp the butt stock and use the fingers, hand and forearm to move the rifle to the right shoulder while bending the right elbow so that the right forearm is parallel to the ground (horizontal). At the same time flare the left hand and move it to the end of the charging handle (depending on what model rifle you are drilling with).
Moving From Right Shoulder
The first standard movement from right shoulder is bringing the rifle to the Port position- your right hand may not move to the small of the stock to complete the Port position, but the rifle will be in that position. Again, you must use your right fingers, hand and forearm to maneuver the rifle from the right shoulder to the Port position. The left hand will meet the rifle at the Port position.
All of this takes the proper training and lots of practice.
I fully explain non-standard/ceremonial movements for Right shoulder in The Honor Guard Manual.