As much as I am a “by-the-book” Airman, I know there are times when certain organizations must adapt and overcome and follow the spirit of the regulations rather than the letter. Speaking of letters.
Below, is the text of an email from a friend of mine, MSgt Vincent Liddle of Warren Central High School MCJROTC. I was surprised to wake up with Factors on my mind and then receive this email in the afternoon. Here, these Factors represent certain aspects that an organization must deal with where they cannot follow published guidance and pull off a respectful performance.
For instance. On my mind when I woke was a color guard made up of very young elementary school children who make up their school’s color guard for certain events. The teacher who leads the students wanted to create the team and contacted me many years ago about the protocols they should follow. Their biggest obstacle is student height. How can they properly present the colors while wielding flagstaffs twice their height? The answer was to use seven-foot staffs with 3′ x 4′ flags. See the main picture at the top- they are 5th graders (c. 2012).
MSgt Liddle’s Message
This a photo of a presentation we did at a Marine Corps charity golf event. This is an example of don’t judge a photo before knowing the whole story.
- The cadets are in cammies due to not having a dry cleaning budget.
- The two hands on the staffs was due to it being very humid with a temperature of 92 degrees outside (hands were sweaty and the Battle Standard was having a very difficult job keeping a grip during the lowering when we did our walk through).
- The reason for the 3×5 flags was due to the extremely uneven terrain the cadets had to go across to get to position (I made the call for visibility). We had the 4×6 flag set but the National and MCJROTC color bearers kept breaking interval.
I believe in the rules and regs 100%, but I also believe in a professional presentation.
Thank you your continued education on proper drill and color guard, you help us do our jobs as instructors.
I’m not getting soft in my old age. I will not let up on color guards (especially service and first responder teams); there is no reason whatsoever to not know your standards, period. Education, training, practice, practice, practice, and rehearsal.
However, I do realize there are circumstances where a team may have to improvise because I too believe in a professional presentation.
A big thank you to MSgt Liddle and his awesome MCJROTC cadets for doing to superb job and for allowing me to use them as a great example to inform others in the Military Drill World.