Exhibition Drill - College ROTC Drill Teams (Armed Drill)

College ROTC Drill Teams (Armed Drill)

Colleges with Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) units, as well as Military academies have drill teams normally train and compete in two types of drill events; Regulation/Close Order and Exhibition (Trick or Fancy) Drill. Regulation Drill is conducted in accordance with Field Manual 22-5 (now FM 3-21.5) Drill and Ceremonies. Exhibition Drill is more free form and often more elaborate that Regulation Drill. Exhibition Drill teams are also more colorful in uniform and weaponry. In both types of drill events participants are typically armed with weapons made safe or inert by removal of firing pins. Armament is totally devoid of all firing mechanisms for safety of participants and audience alike.

Pershing Rifles, founded in 1894 is the oldest continuously operating college organization dedicated to military drill. The original drill team created by John J. Pershing, had a simple goal: to serve as an example for the cadets at the University of Nebraska, who were sorely lacking in esprit de corps, motivation, and basic military skills. For its first three years, the group (then called “Company A”) did just that: its members became experts at unarmed, armed, and exhibition drill, and were soon the pride of the University. By 1894, when Pershing announced his departure from the University, they had morphed from a simple drill team into a fraternal organization; in his honor, they renamed the group as the “Pershing Rifles”.

As the unit grew, their reputation followed: by the early 1900s, membership was considered a high military honor. Other schools soon applied for affiliation with the Pershing Rifles, and by the middle of the 20th century this now national organization comprised nearly 200 units representing all of the services stationed at ROTC detachments around the country. Through their phenomenal growth, however, the Pershing Rifles were careful to stay true to their basic purpose: to develop the traits of leadership and discipline among their members through drill competition.

The success of Pershing Rifles leadership development program, would not be possible without the organization’s focus on close-order and exhibition rifle drill. Excellence in drill, whether armed or unarmed, is a function of discipline and dedication; these traits are put to work on a regular basis by Pershing Rifles units. A typical unit performs as a color guard, exhibition drill team, honor guard, funeral detail, or any other ceremonial unit requested; these services are usually at the request of the local ROTC detachment or school, but are sometimes requested by alumni, local governments, or active duty military units. Through all of these activities, in addition to the skills gained by the performers, positive publicity is also received by the unit’s host school, host ROTC detachment, and ultimately the military in general. Pershing Rifles hosts a National Drill Competition each spring which attracts some of the finest college level drill teams in the nation.

Triphibian Guard, founded in 1959 as an Army ROTC Drill Team of Seton Hall University as a chartered and approved student organization. Cadets from the existing Pershing Rifles Company K-8 formed the Triphibian Guard. The name Triphibian was chosen because it represented Land, Sea and Air Forces. Once established, the Triphibian Guard quickly grew in stature and respect at the University. It became the Official Honor guard of the University President. Officer Candidate student members wore a distinctive Patch and Fourragere (gold and black cord) on the left shoulder of their uniform. The distinctive patch or Shoulder sleeve insignia was triangular in shape. It was the United States Army colors of black and gold and depicted an African male lion with a gold crown on the forehead. Upon University graduation, student Officer graduates are eligible for award of Distinguished Military Graduate (DMG) one of the Awards and decorations of the United States military and become a Commissioned officer of the United States Armed Forces. The unit disbanded in the late 1970s due to lack of student interest at the end of the hostilities of the Vietnam War.

Billy Mitchell Drill Team (BMDT), founded in 1951 as an Air Force ROTC Drill Team; is the premier drill, ceremony and color guard team of the University of Florida. It is open to all students of the University but wears the United States Air Force uniform. With a history spanning six decades, BMDT's rich heritage and dedication to discipline and excellence help to produce the nation's best Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corp Officers.

Read more about this topic:  Exhibition Drill

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