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.
Before 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.
Hey can AFJROTC Color Guards do Honor Guard moves and techniques when performing at competitions or anywhere else?
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.
Where can I get more information about the Honor Guard Academy and Honor Guard Clinic?
If you would, please send me an email, email@example.com, and I will send you the information.