The “Flake Monster” at Obama’s Farewell

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It happens to the best. It’s called “Flaking” in the Ceremonial World. You hydrate, eat well, exercise and you don’t lock your knees, but all of the sudden, after standing for two-and-a-half hours, your vision pinpoints, you feel light headed and BAM! you are out cold on the ground. It’s physical, it’s mental, and it’s physiological. It is quite possible …

Creating a Casket Deck

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When a firefighter passes, many, if not all of the time an apparatus (fire truck) is used as a caisson. Whether it’s an antique or a modern apparatus, it is a fitting way to transport a fallen brother or sister. The hose bed is emptied and used to transport the casket. There are a couple problems, however. The first problem …

The First Responder Ceremonial Uniform

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A short time ago, I was sent a uniform question by an Assistant Fire Chief regarding creating the unit’s new ceremonials for the honor guard members. I thought it would be a relatively quick answer. It turned into three days of research and ten pages of text and images. I didn’t mind it a bit, thanks Chief! My uniform, in …

The DrillMaster Practice Ceremonial Fire Axe

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I thought the name, DrillMaster iAxe or iAx, (like the DrillMaster iDrill Rifle, because you, “I” make it) might just look weird, so I went with the longer name. Still, it works. The ceremonial fire axe is the usual weapon of choice for firefighter colors teams. However, firefighters are paramilitary and some teams do use the traditional rifle. Other units …

Back to Basics

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Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers football team, never liked to lose a game. The team lost one particular game that Mr. Lombardi thought they definitely should not have. The game was lost due to the team making several mistakes on the field. On the bus ride to the airport the coach said nothing. On the plane …

All About the Firing Party

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The Firing Party (Information taken from the book, The Honor Guard Manual (Second Edition).) All military services use the firing party for memorials and funerals. Law enforcement agencies also use the firing party to render honors.  “Ah yes, the 21-Gun Salute!” I hear you say. My reply: Stop right there! Only Army and Navy cannons fire the 21-Gun salute. A …

First Responder Casket Watch Videos

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Here is a playlist of three videos of law enforcement and firefighters learning the solemn technique of casket watch during three different honor guard academies that I’ve taught. You will notice that the techniques have changed slightly at certain points as my refining process has continued. The last video of the Louisiana LEOs (Oct 2015) is the latest iteration of …

To Post or Present, That is the Question

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Geared more toward honor guard units, but cadets can also use this information. With apologies to William Shakespeare… Color teams have a choice, based on ceremony location, size of the area (room or outside area), size of the audience, and time limit, as to whether the team should “Show-n-Go” or post. The Show-n-Go Equipment needed: two sets of colors, floor stands, …

Off to Qatar and South Africa!

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Yes, it is true! The DrillMaster has been international for years now, but my travels have not taken me outside of the country until today. At 1 pm Eastern, I will fly with my good friend and exhibition drill colleague, Matthew Pereau. We are truly excited and blessed for this opportunity!       Our first stop is Qatar where …

Communication and Respect

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In the movie, Ghost Busters, Egon Spengler says, “Print is dead.” To some extent, I agree, but words on the screen are alive and well. In the military, we know how to communicate and how to show respect in all forms of communication. After all, the military relies heavily on communication and it must be done the right way the …