Consideration of Color Bearer Height and Waist Level is Mandatory

DrillMasterColor Guard/Color Team, Honor Guard Training, JROTC Leave a Comment

It boggles my mind that harness socket height is rarely considered. It’s time members of a color guard were made aware of the requirement. Marine Corps Order 5060.20 states that colors are carried at the same level. If the same level is not possible, the national colors can be minimally higher but never lower. Training Circular 3-21.5 states colors are carried at the same level/height.

Notice the color bearers of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at top are very similar in height, but their waistlines are different by several inches.

You must, must consider bearer height and waistline level. If you don’t, you run the risk of putting the national colors in a position of dishonor as shown.

The image at right is of a State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College colors guard. Here, the color bearers should have switched places. This never should have happened.

Below are photos shared through various social media accounts.

The color bearer socket level issue is a hazard of some uniform combinations (the male shirt and female blouse tucked into the trousers). Team members wear web or ceremonial belts over, not above, their uniform belts and wear the colors harness under the belt. That means the socket frame is just under the belt or you’re risking #HarnessSocketCrotchSyndrome where the harness socket rest directly on the crotch – it’s not a good look. Speaking of Harness Crotch Syndrome.

What is extremely interesting about this issue is that, in some cases, bearer height plays a minor role, and waist level height takes precedence. In the photo above, notice that the organizational bearer is just slightly shorter than the national bearer and yet his waist level is higher.

Also interesting is that the military requires each member to wear the uniform correctly and not how each individual prefers to wear it. That preference leads to wearing the trousers on the hip bones making the uniform look horrendous. Your waist level is above your hip bones, females have a higher waistline while the male waistline is lower.

Good Socket Alignment!

Below is the Joint Armed Forces Color Guard at the monument for President John F. Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery.

Flag ceremony

The Disposition of American Flags

DrillMasterInstructional, Protocol and Flag Leave a Comment

There are instances where we may want to “honor” someone by doing something that possibly violates the Flag Code due to ignorance. This article aims to eliminate that ignorance and inform on ways to truly honor the ones who served our country. Burning

The American flag is a profound symbol of freedom and patriotism. Honoring a military veteran involves respecting that symbol and those that represent a veteran’s service and sacrifice.

  • When a member of the military retires he/she is presented with a folded American flag.
  • A general purpose/interment flag is traditionally draped over the casket of a veteran (this is authorized for all Americans, who folds it is the question).

When a veteran passes away, the question of what to do with the flag(s) arises. It is important to handle the flag with the utmost care and reverence to honor the memory of the veteran.

What to Do with a Flag After a Veteran Passes Away

Preservation and Display

One of the most common and respectful ways to handle the flag after a veteran’s funeral is to preserve it as a cherished keepsake. The flag is folded into a neat triangle and can be placed in a display case. This allows family members to honor and remember their loved one while ensuring the flag remains in pristine condition. Display cases can be personalized with the veteran’s name, rank, and service details, adding a personal touch to the memorial. It is important to include a document that tells future generations who the veteran was, where they served, and any memories or stories about their service. This makes the flag more meaningful as the reader understands what the veteran did while serving the nation. 

Donation

A meaningful donation to JROTC, Sea Cadets, Civil Air Patrol, or other cadet programs is a very good way to help the cadets understand the sacrifice and use the flag for training. What you might also consider is donation to a law enforcement department/office or fire/EMS department. The department honor guards need flags with which they can train for their funerals.

Another option is to donate the flag to an organization that respects and cherishes the symbol of the American flag. Many veterans’ organizations, such as the American Legion or the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), accept flags for ceremonies and events. Donating the flag can ensure it continues to be used in ways that honor the sacrifices of all veterans.

Handling and Appropriate Care of the US Flag

The American flag should be treated with the utmost respect and dignity, especially those that have draped the casket of a veteran or first responder. This begins when the flag is first placed on the casket and continues through the life of the flag.

Cleaning

Serviceable flags that have become soiled or water-stained may be cleaned in the manner best suited for the flag material. Water-stained rayon banner cloth will first be dry cleaned. If spots remain, flag may be laundered in warm water with a mild detergent. When completely dry, it should be pressed on a standard steam press. Indoor flags should be handled individually and in a dignified manner. They should not be mingled with other articles being cleaned or laundered.

AR 840-10, paragraph 10-3. Care of flags, d.

The Flag should Never be Used as a Receptacle

Over the last 30 years, it has become a tradition for the firing party to present three spent shells, while first responders present a badge or patch of the department they served with to the family as an additional keepsake. These keepsakes are often tucked into the flag just before it is presented to the family. I understand the sentiment but it is completely inappropriate and prohibited by the Flag Code, TC 3-21.5, MCO 5060.20, and AFPAM 34.1203 along with DoD directives. These keep sakes may be placed in a case with the flag but should never be placed in the folds of the flag.

Cremation of the Flag with Remains – NO!

There are occasions where veterans have passed away and there isn’t any family or next of kin to receive the flag. These veterans are still entitled to the funeral honors they earned. Following the service they are often cremated and recently crematoriums/funeral homes have the flag cremated with the veteran.

h. Unserviceable flags. Unserviceable flags will not be used for banners or any other purpose. When a flag is no longer suitable for display, it will not be cast aside or used in any way that may be viewed as disrespectful. If not preserved as specified in chapters 2, 5, 6, and 10, it will be destroyed privately, preferably by burning, shredding, or by some other method that does not show irreverence or disrespect to the flag.

AR 840-10, Chapter 1, paragraph 1-8

The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.

4 U.S. Code § 7 – Position and manner of display, (n)

We can understand the restriction of not lowering the flag into the grave to mean that the flag is not draped on the casket nor folded and placed inside the casket. The same idea is applied for a casket or a cremation container. Stop placing flags in to be cremated with veterans or anyone else for that matter.

Combining the flag with human remains during cremation not only violates these guidelines but also diminishes the significance and honor that the flag represents. Families should seek alternative ways to honor the flag while respecting both the symbol and the memory of their loved one.

Properly Destroying the Flag

According to the U.S. Flag Code, flags that are worn, tattered, or otherwise no longer presentable/serviceable, are destroyed. The proper way to dispose of a worn or damaged flag is through a dignified burning ceremony (natural fibers) or shredding and burial (man-made fibers), conducted separately from any other items or remains.

The only direction provided by the Flag Code or military regulations, is that the worn flag must be destroyed, preferably by burning. Many veterans’ organizations and local community groups conduct flag retirement ceremonies, according to the traditions of their organization, where flags are respectfully burned in a manner befitting their significance. These ceremonies provide a dignified end for the flag’s service while honoring the values it represents. Participating in or attending such a ceremony can be a meaningful way for families to ensure the flag is treated with the respect it deserves.

Conclusion

Handling the American flag after a veteran has passed away requires care, respect, and adherence to established guidelines. Whether preserving it as a keepsake, donating it to an organization, or participating in a proper disposal ceremony, families have several options to honor both the flag and the memory of their loved one. By understanding and respecting these practices, we ensure that the sacrifices of our veterans are remembered and honored with the dignity they deserve.

Guest post by DeVaughn Simper, Vexillologist

World Famous Body Bearers

The Flag Draping the Casket

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The only way to ensure a flag doesn’t move when draped on a casket is to put a casket band on it or underneath it and then tuck the flag into it. Any other time, you risk the flag moving one way or another and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, you just have to be aware of the possibility. It’s appropriate to break your position and grab the flag if it’s sliding off, especially when it’s placed on the mockup (the lowering device placed over the grave). Some areas don’t use a mockup (Louisiana uses above-ground vaults) and very remote places will sometimes just have a plank of plywood to set the casket on next to the grave.

Here, the @worldfamousbodybearers have everything in control. The flag is off center but in no danger of sliding off. Once at the grave, they will set the casket down, bring the flag to “tabletop”, and eventually fold it and hand it off. They have control over it, directly or even indirectly (as shown in the photo).

Mazurovsky_-_Fight_for_the_banner_1805_1910-12

Why a Color Guard Does Not Fix Bayonets

DrillMasterColor Guard, Color Guard/Color Team, Honor Guard Training, Instructional Leave a Comment

Fixed bayonets are not authorized for military color guards, so why would anyone else do it? We can speculate as to why color guards chose to do it, but that’s not necessary. What is necessary is to educate everyone as to why it’s not the right thing to do. We will explore the reasons why a color guard fixing bayonets is not appropriate.

The featured image at the top is Fight for the Banner (Mazurovsky, 1910-12) between French Line Infantry and Russian Guard Cuirassiers at the battle of Austerlitz (1805). Notice the historical color guard set up with the infantry soldiers surrounding the colors. The loss of the unit’s colors was and still is an immense disgrace.

Who is Authorized to Fix Bayonets?

All US military squads, platoons, and companies that drill under arms are authorized to drill at fixed bayonets. The service honor guards in and around Washington DC march their platoons and companies at fixed bayonets at all times and there’s a very good reason for this. They never march a color guard at fixed bayonets. A great example is below (photo from 1991).

Joint Service Colors - no bayonets. Platoons in front and behind have fixed bayonets
Joint Service Colors – no bayonets. Platoons in front and behind have fixed bayonets

Here is an explanation of Unique recognition for certain units of the Army. In regard to marching with fixed bayonets, here is what is written at the website.

(b) The (3d Infantry) regiment traditionally marches in review with bayonets fixed. At the battle of Cerro Gordo during the Mexican War the 3d Infantry led a brilliant bayonet charge, and in 1922 the regiment requested permission to pass in review for ceremonies and parades with bayonets fixed. Although the regimental history reports the request was granted by the War Department, there is no record in our (US Army Center of Military History) files of the approval. It was the usual practice in the nineteenth century to have fixed bayonets at dress parades. (Emphasis mine)

US Army Center of Military History website

This is also interesting related to our topic.

14th Major Port. In recognition of the unit’s outstanding achievement between “D” Day and “V-E” Day, the port was granted the privilege of marching through the streets of the town and county of Southampton with bayonets fixed, drums beating, and colors flying. Nearly two million men had departed through Southampton, England. The port is perpetuated by the 374th Transportation Command.

US Army Center of Military History website

The Army does not fix bayonets for parades and ceremonies, but the Marine Corps can. We can see this in the parade sections of TC 3-21.5 and MCO 5060.20. The TC makes no mention of the commander of troops giving the command to fix bayonets while the MCO does. Apparently, special permission is required in the Army to pass-in-review with fixed bayonets. Here is a bit of reasoning behind that.

Why not do it? Safety

Bayonets are incredibly sharp and training to use them does not happen on a regular basis.

Why do it when Authorized? Look – Intimidation and Security

Intimidation. The service honor guards in DC need to have a certain look. Intimidation is part of that. Fixing bayonets for a pass-in-review is part of that as the platoons march by the visiting foreign national dignitary so that they have a certain powerful look. This is the same reasoning why the color guard ceremonial element has the tallest members in the honor guard assigned to it. The color guard is usually the closest element to the dignitary.

Security. The public sees the same parade and feels secure in their military passing in front of them.

A Bit of History

Around the late 1800s the unit color bearer was removed from battle. The practice began to phase out during the American Civil War (1861-1865) due to the increased range and accuracy of firearms, making flag bearers conspicuous and vulnerable targets. Before that, they were used as a center guide to keep the battle lines moving forward. Guards, usually five during the Civil War era (see diagrams at the bottom of this article) and before (approximately 1812 to 1860) were placed around the bearer.

By the Spanish-American War of 1898, the tradition had largely been abandoned for practical reasons, as modern warfare necessitated more discreet and efficient means of communication and unit identification. Thus, while ceremonial use of colors continued, their tactical deployment in battle ceased.

You can still see this type of color guard in military units of other counties like France. The color guard was spaced at normal interval and would march in military parades and fix bayonets for battle.

Reason 1 Why it’s Inappropriate

We look to military manuals for what they say, for what we are authorized to do. Just because a manual doesn’t have a list of “Don’t do that” doesn’t mean the floodgates are open to your ideas of how to make things #ceremonialer. We are to follow what is in the manual and, if necessary, create techniques to do the best job we can for a ceremony that may have an odd setup. We are not to use our imagination and add to the standards.

The Army’s TC 3-21.5 and the USAF AFPAM 34-1203 do not have bayonet and color guard guidance. They both do have information on what to do on a color guard. However, MCO 5060.20 does specifically state that guards for the color guard are forbidden from fixing bayonets.

1. m. Color guards do not fix bayonets.

5. h. The color guard does not execute to the rear march, about face, flanking movements or fix bayonets.

MCO 5060.20, 15 May 2019, Encl. 1, Chapter 7

Reason 2 Why it’s Inappropriate

Sharp objects and flag material do not mix well at all. Even though you may have those cheapo telescoping metal staffs (not authorized for the military) raised to 9′ with 3’x5′ colors attached, there’s always a possibility of the material getting caught.

Reason 3 Why it’s Inappropriate

The color guard has not been a fighting element in battle for 150+ years. Fixing bayonets shows you are going to battle and that’s not what a color guard of today should be communicating, especially for law enforcement.

The act of fixing bayonets has been held to be primarily connected to morale, the making of a clear signal to friend and foe of a willingness to kill at close quarters.

Holmes, Richard (1987). Firing Line. Harmondsworth: Penguin. pp. 377–9

There is no such thing as a “ceremonial use” of a bayonet on a color guard and simply no reason why a law enforcement color guard should signal a willingness to kill at close quarters.

Random Military

Every once in a while, someone makes a mistake or thinks it’s a great idea to have everyone fix bayonets. The US Air Force Academy cadet honor guard made a bad decision that night. They realized it too late. The 82nd stillAirborne decided it would be a good thing at one point.

VMI and Citadel

Both Virginia Military Institute and the Citadel have similar histories. Both schools had cadets called up for battles in the Civil War. In honor of that, the corps of cadets marches in review with fixed bayonets. Both schools’ color guards also fix bayonets and when I bring it up, all that I receive in reply is “tradition!” even though I provide the reasoning behind why they should not fix bayonets for their guards.

I do, however, understand that tradition is necessary to uphold and that’s why I suggest that both school teams never fix bayonets again since the color guard is always in the modern shoulder-to-shoulder line formation. There is an alternative!

Civil War Era Color Guard Formation
Civil War Era Color Guard Formation

Start forming the Civil War era-ish color guard formation at normal interval. The formation, developed in the early 1800s, would consist of as many color bearers as you need (this would be a necessary modern alteration) with a guard on each side, and have a number of guards in the second rank. Traditionally, the first rank had one color bearer with a guard on each side and the second rank had three guards centered behind the three in front. You could then have more guards, one for each bearer, if you want. Here are a couple of suggestions.

Modern Adaptation of Odd Number Civil War Era Color Guard Formation
Modern Adaptation of Odd Number Civil War Era Color Guard Formation

In the graphic above, I provide the idea of either one guard in the rear rank per bearer (five), or having just three with the middle guard centered on the middle bearer.

Modern Adaptation of Even Number Civil War Era Color Guard Formation
Modern Adaptation of Even Number Civil War Era Color Guard Formation

In the graphic above, I provided an idea to use only three guards in the rear rank with the center guard in the “window” of the two center bearers as opposed to six guards.

Virginia Tech

VA Tech
VA Tech

VA Tech was founded shortly after the Civil War. Cadets volunteered to the Governor to serve in 1898 for the Spanish American War, but the cadets did not see service.

There is no historical reason for the color guard to fix bayonets like the Citadel and VMI push. Really, there’s no reason for a modern color guard to fix bayonets at all.

Many thanks to Michael Kelley, DeVaughn Simper, Mark Schmitt, and Fire Chief Donald Butz for their input for this article.

British Soldiers Trooping the Colour

Why we Perform Ceremonies

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Why do all of this ceremonial “stuff”? Some believe (wrongly) that all this is just a, waste of time, effort, money, etc. Gone are the days of the Army never entering Rome, which was seen as an act of aggression and possible overthrow of the government, which, in that day, it was. Read about crossing the Rubicon and the phrase “The die is cast”, alea iacta est.

Video courtesy of @armylondon on Instagram

Today, our military men and women live near us, they go to “work” and come home. They deploy and return, one way or another.

Ceremonies are about communication. They are a good way for the military to send a message to the public, friends, and even adversaries. That message is something to the effect, “We pay attention to the little details. We work to hone our skills and if we look this good in such a high profile ceremony, imaging what we can do in battle.” The public is the made to feel confident in their military, friends are confident in their comrades who will swiftly and accurately help in a time of need, and foes are confident that they’d rather not mess around.

Ceremonies are full of time honored traditions and those traditions come with significant meaning for the participants and onlookers as well. There is a sense of grounding in seeing the changing of the guard or other military ceremonies in one’s country. It’s as if everything will be OK because the status quo is kept. While that is true in regards to the ceremony, our militaries are constantly improving and morphing into something better.

This is what is supposed to be.

Missouri Military Academy

Resilience

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From BG Garaci, my NMMI brother and President of Missouri Military Academy. I cannot help but share his message.

Dear MMA alumni and friends,

On January 21, I addressed the corps at Vespers, our weekly non-denominational service focused on self-reflection, personal and spiritual growth held in Memorial Chapel. During my address, I reflected on my recent recovery from the serious injury and surgery to both my legs and how I learned to deal with adversity through my own experience as a cadet at a military school. 

I shared with cadets that I had to draw upon physical, mental and spiritual strength to recover my mobility and return to campus. As I did so, it renewed my belief in and commitment to what we teach cadets at Missouri Military Academy.

While we strive for excellence and tangible results in academics and athletics, it is the intangible skills and traits — most importantly, their resilience and never-quit attitude — we develop in cadets that truly make a difference in their success.

In my address at Vespers, I shared with the cadets something one of my high school coaches told me that I have never forgotten:

“If you never quit, you are a competitor, and in the end, you will be a winner. If you quit, you are a loser, and once you quit, quitting becomes a habit.”

Here are other insights I shared with cadets, advice I believe encapsulates some of the important lessons we teach here at the Academy:

Each cadet has a special talent and something to contribute. Seek excellence with your God-given talents.

Resilience is a personality trait you can each develop. Resilient people exhibit maturity, display a strong sense of personal responsibility, maintain optimism, persevere when times are tough and are cooperative. People who lack resilience complain, blame others, display a negative attitude and lack self-worth and self-confidence.

Bad things happen to everyone throughout their lives. How you respond to adversity is critical and defines your character. MMA will help you develop resilience, a “never quit” attitude and the ability to overcome adversity, and in many instances, the ability to turn adversity into opportunity.

My successful recovery, ahead of the anticipated schedule, required a lot of support from many individuals – my wife Kathy and family, doctors, nurses, specialists, and physical therapists. My gratitude for their support is immense, and it renewed my appreciation for the selflessness and generosity of others, people who give while they (like everyone) have their own problems and challenges. Our cadets have this kind of support at MMA — an incredible brotherhood, supported by staff, faculty, and coaches focused on their success.

It is with gratitude that I have the opportunity to share and teach cadets these lessons. With their parents’ partnership and support, we are teaching them to take command of their lives.

I hope to see you on campus at the Maroon & Gold Gala on Saturday, April 20 in further support of our shared mission. Please find details below on how you can help make the event a success — and make a difference for our cadets.

Sincerely,
Richard V. Geraci
Brigadier General, USA (Ret)
President

Behind every great institution stands supporters who play a vital role in its success, and we are grateful for individuals like you who embrace this responsibility. Thank you.

Earning Your Position

DrillMasterAsk DrillMaster, Leadership Leave a Comment

Each year I have JROTC cadets contact me about issues they see in their unit and how to address them. One of those issues is putting random cadets into different leadership positions like the guidon bearer for the class.

JROTC units have several classes throughout the day and each class is considered a company or squadron even though the numbers are only around 30. With that, the class/company is authorized a guidon and a cadet is chosen to be the guidon and guidon bearer. This position comes with responsibility and placing just anyone in the position can have certain consequences – positive and negative.

Below is the response I wrote to a cadet regarding a freshman cadet who, without any formal training for the position, decided she could tell the other class guidon bearers how to do their job.

The freshman needs to be counseled and politely put in her place. She needs to be trained in guidon manual, but before that she, along with the other guidon bearers, needs to go through a demonstration of all guidon manual positions, marching and static. Create a guidon manual sheet that has all commands on it and have all the guidon bearers go through the positions with a commander calling each command. For each command, it’s pass/fail. Any more than two failures on the sheet means immediate retraining. TC 3-21.5 standards only. When she (or any other) doesn’t pass that, and it sounds like she won’t, then any who did not pass need to be scheduled for training to EARN the privilege of carrying the guidon.

The training needs to happen at the beginning of each school year along with any other positions the leadership deems necessary.

Carolyn Cole LA Times via AP

The Joint Military/First Responder Funeral

DrillMasterAsk DrillMaster, DrillCenter News, Honor Guard Leave a Comment

I speak with law enforcement officers and firefighters around the country on all matters of drill and ceremonies. This crops up every so often and needs to be addressed.

Three percent of Americans serve in the military. Many of those who serve get out after their initial four years, maybe another tour, or they stay for 20. After that, some go into law enforcement or become firefighters.

The Requirement

Department of Defense Form 214 is what every veteran receives upon honorable discharge. It is presented to the funeral director to verify service. That verification gets the wheels in motion to request ceremonial support.

Since the year 2000 Defense Authorization Act, all veterans and retirees receive Military Funeral Honors in one form or another. Most often, two trained honor guard members show up for the funeral, fold and present the flag and sound Taps. That’s a Veteran Honors Funeral. A Retiree Honors Funeral used to have more involvement with pallbearers, but most retirees are given VHF. There are higher levels of support depending on rank and flying status that are filled based on available personnel.

As stated above, the government provides at least two servicemembers from the appropriate branch and a large-star interment flag. The government standard is to fold and present the flag and sound Taps as the standard, but there is sometimes a twist that the honor guard members have to deal with on the fly.

The Twists – not an exhaustive list

  • The family fights over the flag as it is presented.
  • The NOK refuses to take the flag as it is presented.
  • The family has an inquisitive member or two who start asking honor guard members questions during the funeral.
  • A distraught family member jumps on the casket as the pallbearers are carrying it to the grave site.
  • The veteran is a first responder and the military honor guard will fold the flag with the department’s chief presenting to the NOK (next of kin).
  • The family wants the state or county flag on the casket (perfectly acceptable) and now the military honor guard has nothing to do except sound Taps because the military does not fold these flags. Note – National Guard may be authorized to fold the state flag.

FYI, all of the above instances have happened to me or to honor guard members I know.

Let’s look a bit closer at the last bullet point.

The Veteran is a First Responder

This is quite common and military honor guard members need to handle this situation just like they handle the others – with respect and a humble attitude. We need to always remember that, while the funeral is because of the deceased, it is for the family, friends, and colleagues. It has *nothing* to do with the honor guard members; that’s why we don’t wear nametags. I was never SSgt/TSgt John Marshall while I was on a Base Honor Guard, I was just another Airman working with my team in whatever position. We are not ourselves, we are a team and not individuals. We represent our branch of of the military.

The Choice is up to the NOK

“The military is what he did, a police officer (fire fighter, etc.) was who he was.” Whatever the NOK wants, within reason, is what will happen for the funeral. The department/office honor guard works out every aspect of the funeral and inserts the military involvement, based on the wishes of the NOK.

A word to the military out there: you getting bent out of shape just because you think “this isn’t protocol” or “this interrupts what we do” has zero basis in fact. Drop all of your preconceived expectations except that you will do your job to the best of your ability regardless of the situation. That’s all you’re supposed to do. You have a lane that you are staying in (honor guard, for the moment) and now it’s been narrowed by someone (NOK) who has the authority to do that. Deal with it, do your job, and drive on.

AF Colors

Responding To Your Own Commands

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Commanders for Parade Staff, Flag Detail, and Color Guard, do not come to Attention (from Parade Rest) to call their formation to Attention. This article is for every branch of the US military and all cadets. The commander, in all three instances, is part of the formation and does not move independently of the other members of the formation. This is for uniformity.

Parade Staff

This is a sample quote.

10-24. First bullet point. “Upon completion of the remarks, the COT [Commander of Troops- DM] commands the {parade] staff to Attention, faces about, and directs…”

TC 3-21.5

Here, the command is “Staff, ATTENTION!” with the commander and staff coming to Attention simultaneously. The COT faces about to give the formation Attention or give the unit commanders a Directive Command (e.g., Bring your units to Attention). If the COT came to Attention to give the command to the staff, he/she would just assume Attention, face about and then give the command, but that is not what happens for uniformity’s sake. The staff works as one separate unit at times (Attention and Present/Order Arms, etc.) and the parade formation works as one unit.

For the best example, watch this parade at Marine Barracks Washington. You will see the staff do exactly as I have quoted and added to, above. Plus! You will also see the Colors Sgt of the Marine Corps bring his team to Attention and respond to his own command.

Here is a parade from The Old Guard at Ft Meyer in VA, which is not Joint Base Meyer-Henderson Hall.

Next is the 8nd Airborne Division in a parade. A massive formation!

Color Guard

Right and Left Face, Carry Colors, Order Colors/Arms, and Parade Rest are all commands where the commander responds to each command. Why would calling the team to Attention be different? Your answer might be to quote all three service drill and ceremonies manuals that state the commander must be at attention when calling commands and that is true- when the commander is outside of the formation. All references are for squad/element, platoon/flight, and company/squadron commanders.

We don’t usually ask the question I just did above, “Why would calling the team to Attention be different?” when it comes to colors. We just assume it’s a rule and followed every time.

All I have is logic and this lone quote from the USAF D&C Sticky Note.

2.2 Rules for Commands

2.2.2. When the commander is a member of a staff {parade staff- DM] or detail [flag detail, colors] and is required to perform a movement at the same time as the formation [a color guard], the commander will maintain the same position as the formation while giving commands and will respond to his/her command.

AFPAM 34-1203

Historic USMC Commands and Marching

DrillMasterDrillCenter News, History Leave a Comment

In this clip from the 1962 TV show “I’ve Got a Secret”, Jonathan Winters marches a small platoon of Marines around the stage before the game show commences. We can learn a little bit from this:

  1. “Harch” was used by every service at least during the WWII era and for a few years after.
  2. “Oblique” was pronounced properly at one time. Read here for more.
  3. Commands were called when marching in just about any direction and eventually the each service created restrictions.

While this short performance isn’t presented as the whole truth and nothing but, it is an example of what I have posted about for several years now on social media using the tag, #DrillandCeremoniesHistory.