Marine at MBW Evening Colors Gathering Laundry

Your Bias and the Marine “Gathering Laundry”

DrillMaster Judge Training, Judging Leave a Comment


We all have certain knowledge and experiences that define how we view circumstances around us. That’s called our bias. A bias isn’t necessarily bad but if you only rely on your knowledge and experiences and are closed off to learning something new, that is the bad part.

As a judge viewing regulation, exhibition, or a ceremonial drill routine, you must leave your bias out of your comments, reactions, and scoring. Judges rely on training, experience, and study to score a performance but adjudication is about the educational process and not meeting the expectations of a random judge.

“Gathering Laundry”

A few years ago, I trained three CAP unit competitive teams in color guard and flight drill and Flag Detail procedures. Depending on the size of the flag for the Flag Detail, it is either handed of to several flag handlers or it is gathered into the arms of the Catcher who then facilitates folding with the other team members. One judge for the Flag Detail portion of the competition made the statement that gathering the flag into the Catcher’s arms is inappropriate and tantamount to “gathering laundry” into your arms. That’s an extraordinarily ignorant comment coming from one who is supposed to have complete knowledge of all procedures for the Flag Detail.

The Marine in the Photos is the Catcher

Although you can barely see him, this Marine, from Marine Barracks Washington, is the Catcher for the Evening Colors ceremony at the Barracks. The focus is on the flag but you can just see the Marine’s white cover (hat) in the images here. Below is the link to the video where I grabbed the screenshot. The link begins at the start of Evening Colors so that you can see the Catcher gather the flag into his arms.

The required number of halyard bearers, flag handlers, and folders varies to lower the flag. Just because the flag may be relatively “large” doesn’t mean the Catcher hands of the lower corner to a handler and the same goes for a smaller flag. Either can be gathered into the Catcher’s arms and the smaller sizes are almost always gathered.

American flag sizes for flying from a flagpole

  • 3’x5′
  • 4’x6′
  • 5’x8′
  • 6’x10′
  • 8’x12′
  • 9.5’x5′
  • 10’x15′
  • 10’x19′
  • 12’x18′
  • 20’x38′
  • 30’x50′


You need to know as much as you possibly can about whatever you are going to judge. Just having experience is NOT enough. Training on how to judge the What and the How of a visual performance should be a priority for you as well.

Lastly, I visit the Barracks relatively often, I’ll let the Drill Master and Assistant Drill Master know about this “laundry” problem.

Leave a Reply

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