A Message From a CAP Cadet

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A short time ago I received an email through my website that is indicative of the messages I receive from Civil Air Patrol cadets and adults in general. This is my response to the cadet.

Dear CAP Cadet, my answers are after each of your questions preceded by “%”.

I’m trying to start a color guard at my Civil Air Patrol Squadron and I’ve been reading the USAF HGMAN to do it because CAPP 52-8 just seems like it was written by somebody who had no idea what they were talking about.

% Your perception is uncanny!

I understand the manual of arms and the basics but I’m having trouble understanding when the team should be at close interval and when they should be at shoulder to shoulder, and what the commands are to fix the spacing or if it’s done automatically. I was wondering if you could help explain it to me?

% Unless your whole team has gone through CAP ceremonial training (which is lacking), you cannot use the information you’ve read in the AF Honor Guard Manual. You must use regulation technique. I’ll explain that in a minute.

I was also wondering if there’s a CAP specific resource I’m missing because I have heard you say CAP does things differently from the Air Force.

% CAPP 52-8 is the Unit HG Program (ceremonial drill), but you need to start with CAPP 60-33, CAP D&C (regulation drill). 60-33 was written in the same manner as 52-8, unfortunately, and that is where CAP D&C begins to stray from USAF D&C. CAP was never supposed to create a different standard but did with reckless abandon. There are many nuances in AFPAM 34-1203, AF D&C, that many in CAP, AFJROTC, and others just do not grasp and that is due to the AF’s poor writing. However, poor writing is no excuse to go off on your own and “rewrite” a manual for a subordinate agency. CAP should have written a supplement for cadets.

Also watching your videos you use the terms “regulation”, “ceremonial”, and “exhibition” drill, could you help explain the differences between them? Thank you.

% Regulation Drill comes from the three service D&C manuals, TC 3-21.5, MCO 5060.20, and AFPAM 34-1203. They are the “regulations” that govern service drill and ceremonies that is applicable to everyone in uniform in the Department of Defense, ROTC, JROTC, CAP, Sea Cadets, Sea Scouts, and Young Marines. It is supposed to be the default standard for every cadet organization in the USA but isn’t because of egos.

% Ceremonial Drill is strictly for service honor guard units and not for the general military nor cadets to perform. It was developed out of necessity for rendering honors and looking your absolute best. There’s more of an explanation but it’s lengthy.

% Exhibition Drill is any marching or rifle/sword manipulation. However, it has come to be understood that exhibition drill is marching and equipment use that is not specifically in a service D&C manual.

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