Service Drill Teams Attend Annual Training Camps

DrillMasterCommentary, Drill Teams, Honor Guard 6 Comments

Each year around the end of February and the beginning of March, each of the service drill teams (Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force- not sure about the Coast Guard*), leave their duty station and head out to train for about 30 days to work on the upcoming season’s routine.

USMC SDP Challenge DayBefore the teams leave for training there is a challenge time or, at least for the Marine Corps, Challenge Day. Honor guard members wishing to be a member of the team can perform the drill team’s manual, which they have practiced for weeks, and be graded in the hope to make a performing spot on the season’s team.

The Army, Navy and Air Force Silent Drill Teams, separately, go to different installations around the country and the Silent Drill Platoon along with the Drum and Bugle Corps heads to Yuma, AZ each year.

The photo is courtesy of the Marine Corps and shows a Marine performing for a grade by his inspector.

*Unlike the other service drill teams that have permanent members who are assigned to the team and usually do not have other honor guard duties, the Coast Guard’s honor guard is very small and all honor guard members are cross-trained and certified on the different ceremonial elements. Members volunteer to march on the drill team but the assignment is also part of their regular honor guard duties, so they have double and triple roles to perform in any given day with funerals, VIP arrivals, etc. including drill team practices and performances.

Comments 6

  1. Good morning,

    I was wondering if there is any website to get the information of regional drill or state drill competitions. How is the process of making a drill competition and how does it work. Does the Air Force Junior ROTC sponsor competitions? Is it private competitions made by the state or the county?


    1. Post

      Great questions. JROTC units sponsor local drill meets and ROTC HQs coordinate state competitions. Some military installations also sponsor competitions. JROTC instructors usually have a working knowledge of what is offered around each city/area and how to compete locally, at the county and also state level. There are different national competitions run by private companies.

    1. Post

      Cadet Mercado,

      No. Ceremonial techniques are not authorized outside of the Air Force Honor Guard system.

      Air Force JROTC cadets are to read AFMAN 36-2203 and follow the techniques pictured. Rifle guards then use MCO 5060.2 for transitions (because they are at the outside shoulder at Carry) and color bearers use TC 3-21.5 for transitions all while still using USAF techniques. AFI 34-1201 and AFPAM 34-1202 have equipment information and other standards that apply. Download these from the Resources page at my website.

    1. Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *