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 …

The Obstacles of a Parade

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When I was in AFJROTC (’79-’83), we didn’t have scoopers right behind horse entries in a parade. They were the unsung heroes who brought up the very rear, just in front of the police car with the flashing lights signaling the end of the parade. This meant that everyone in the parade had to dodge, duck, dip, dive and… dodge …

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 …

Firing Party: Stop Taking Aim!

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A Firing Party fires a ceremonial Three-Volley salute using modern or traditional rifles (military), shotguns, or pistols (law enforcement). It is not the 21-Gun Salute, that is fired by guns (canons) and only in the Army and Navy. The Numbers: Anywhere from three to seven members firing with a commander. The smaller amount of members on the team does not …

Drill Team Organizational Guidance Examples

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Standards. The military is about setting and maintaining standards- even exceeding them. A cadet organization is not different. An extra-curricular activity of that program also needs to set and maintain standards. Those standards are of what is expected from each team member and what each team member can expect. Here are some examples. I encourage you to look them over, …

Distance and Alignment Training

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This is the best way that I know how to train a team to consistently maintain alignment and distance. When the platoon/flight falls in, they should always “dress and cover” without command. This is standard and if you are not doing this and relying on the commander to give commands, you are not falling in properly- this goes for every …

The “Savard Manual” or “Savards”

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A short time ago, Leslie Savard Hamud sent a question to me through my facebook page, The Honor Guard Manual. To me, the question a little cryptic and out of left field- but I really enjoy left field questions! Here is how the conversation went: Leslie: Hello, I am the daughter of Al Savard and my dad is a proud …

Don’t Break Vertical

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When executing facing movements while armed with a rifle, do not break vertical. But, what does that mean? In Regulation Drill, drill that is based on the drill and ceremonies manual for each military service, without any added movements whatsoever, Drillers must execute the movements exactly as described. The preparatory commands for facing movements are Right, Left and About. Do not …

How to Execute Change Step

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Give the command, Change Step, MARCH! on the right foot. In the image at right, you can see the foot placements just before, during and right after giving the command. The following is what each service manual says on the specific execution of the command. A non-military explanation of the steps:The tempo range is 116-124 SPM (steps per minute) for the …

“Military Neck”

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Military schools across the nation are notorious for telling their new cadets to pull back/tuck their chin. It’s difficult to tuck your chin, pull in your stomach while it’s up against the edge of the table, and look straight ahead while eating your three squares a day. Eating at the position of Attention. Three Squares (a meal): take a scoop …