Give the command, Change Step, MARCH! on the right foot. In the image at right, you can see the foot placements just before, during and right after giving the command. The following is what each service manual says on the specific execution of the command.
A non-military explanation of the steps:
The tempo range is 116-124 SPM (steps per minute) for the Army, 120 is the middle range. For the Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard, the range is 112-120 with 116 being the middle. For the Air Force the range is 100-120 with 110 being the middle target range.
We can mark each step like this (the numbers are an example of how we would count it musically):
To execute Change Step, it looks like this with the command, MARCH, called on the first right step for our scenario:
The Step-Step-Step, happens quickly at double the tempo. If you execute it at the same tempo, you will never change your step pattern, you will still be on the same foot.
No matter which service, DO NOT turn turn your hips and/or shoulders to the right, keep them squared forward to the Line of March.
Do not skip. We used to all skip at one point in the US military. No one does anymore.
“4-7. CHANGE STEP
This movement is executed automatically whenever a Soldier finds himself out of step with all other members of the formation. It is only executed while marching forward with a 30- inch step. To change step, the command Change Step, MARCH is given as the right foot strikes the marching surface. On the command of execution MARCH, take one more step with the left foot, then in one count place the right toe near the heel of the left foot and step off again with the left foot. The arms swing naturally. This movement is executed automatically whenever a Soldier finds himself out of step with all other members of the formation.”
The Marine Corps (Navy & Coast Guard)
“2212. TO CHANGE STEP. The purpose of this movement is to change the cadence count without changing the rhythm of the cadence.
- The command is “Change Step, MARCH.” It may be given while marching at quick or double time, marking time, or double timing in place. The command of execution is given as the right foot strikes the deck.
- While Marching at Quick Time or Double Time
- a. On “MARCH,” take one more step, 30 or 36 inches, as appropriate.
- b. As your right foot comes forward to the next step, place the toe near the left heel and step out again with the left foot. This changes the cadence count, but not the rhythm.
- While Marking Time
- a. On “MARCH,” lift and lower the left foot twice in succession.
- b. The second time it touches the deck, raise the right foot and continue marking time.
- While Double Timing in Place
- a. On “MARCH,” hop twice on the left foot.
- b. Continue double timing in place.”
The Air Force
“The command is Change Step, MARCH. On the command MARCH, given as the right foot strikes the ground, the airman takes one more 24-inch step with the left foot. Then in one count, place the ball of the right foot alongside the heel of the left foot, suspend arm swing, and shift the weight of the body to the right foot. Step off with the left foot in a 24-inch step, resuming coordinated arm swing. The upper portion of the body remains at the position of attention throughout.”