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The Obstacles of a Parade

from pitch.com
from pitch.com

When I was in AFJROTC (’70-’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 certain remnants from our equine parade entries.

30 JUNE 2012 - PRESCOTT, AZ: "Pooper Scoopers" pick up horse dung during the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo Parade. The pooper scoopers are among the most popular people in any parade that features lots of horses, and lots of horses march in the Prescott parade. The parade is marking its 125th year. It is one of the largest 4th of July Parades in Arizona. Prescott, about 100 miles north of Phoenix, was the first territorial capital of Arizona. PHOTO BY JACK KURTZ
30 JUNE 2012 – PRESCOTT, AZ: “Pooper Scoopers” pick up horse dung during the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo Parade. The pooper scoopers are among the most popular people in any parade that features lots of horses, and lots of horses march in the Prescott parade. The parade is marking its 125th year. It is one of the largest 4th of July Parades in Arizona. Prescott, about 100 miles north of Phoenix, was the first territorial capital of Arizona. PHOTO BY JACK KURTZ

Now, scooper are placed throughout parades and are making a crummy job fun.

there should be people, sometimes Scouts, who clean up during the parade walking behind horse entries in parades. However, there is the possibility of encountering one or more situations where you and your team may need to either March through or around an obstacle. The choice is yours. Manure won’t ruin shoes, but it’s not nice stepping in it and carrying a certain amount down the road with you especially when you are in front of the public, the whole parade is your performance. But, that’s what we do: adapt overcome and carry on. On the other hand, the team always has the option of separating and individually moving around obstacles and then coming back together. That movement should be as slight as possible – no major movements.

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Shaving, a Bane of Existence

from coachrickswimming.com
from coachrickswimming.com

The first time one shaves is the beginning of a never-ending cycle when you wear a service uniform. Say hello to nicks, cuts and the occasional abrasion depending on your skin type and especially if you have acne.

There are shaving powders, creams, and soaps, but probably the best shave you will find is from oil. You can buy a relatively expensive specific blend of oils that create a better shaving experience, or, you can go into the kitchen and pour a little olive oil into a small bottle and use that. Olive and hemp oils (what I use) are great for shaving because oil protects your skin better as you run that steel blade across your skin and these oils do not block your pores which is even better. Using an oil is less expensive and healthier for you by avoiding the chemicals that can be in the soaps and creams. Here is how to implement oil in your shaving regimen.

Best in the shower: get your (face) skin nice and wet, wash your hair and then turn off the water (a cut-off valve is great). Now, put about six to ten drops of oil on your fingers and massage it over the area to shave. Put water on your razor and get your fingers wet on your non-shaving hand. Put this water on the first area to shave; you now have three layers of liquid on your face: water-oil-water. Shave the area that you just wet. Rinse the razor OFTEN. Here is an example:

Wet fingers, rub that water on your right cheek, shave right cheek with a downward motion of the razor, turn your water on so that it is forceful and rinse your razor, wet your fingers again and repeat for the next area to shave.

from telegraph.co.uk
from telegraph.co.uk

When you rinse your razor, the water must be quite forceful since the oil and stubble are a little sticky and messy. If you need to re-shave a portion of skin, add more water to that area, don’t just shave it again. The floor of your shower might become a little slippery, that is why you shave toward the beginning of your shower and then let the soap during the rest of your shower take care of the floor, to some degree.

Which direction to shave? Great question and only you can decide that. If you have very sensitive skin, shaving closely will irritate and possibly make your skin bleed with dozens of little red dot all over. Shaving against the growth of hair (“against the grain”) is the best way to get as close as possible. Shaving with the direction of hair is close, but the least irritating. Shaving sideways to hair growth produces in-between results.

Key points: no matter what you shave or how: use copious amounts of water, a little oil- add more oil if necessary, and more water. Rinse your razor constantly.

Ears, Eyebrows, and Nose
Guys, you will probably end up trimming all three of these at one time or another. It’s just part of getting older. However, trim them you must! You need to be as professional as possible and this is part of it.

Safety razor, straight razor, electric shaver, or hybrid (electrical wet shaver): It is up to personal choice. Try different methods and see what is best for your lifestyle and skin.

Speaking of oil
Get some coconut oil and oil pull for 15 to 20 minutes first thing each morning with a large teaspoon of the stuff. It will be extremely beneficial for you.

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Firing Party: Stop Taking Aim!

The Nellis AFB Honor Guard Firing Party
The Nellis AFB Honor Guard Firing Party

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.

Members of the Navy Ceremonial Guard fire a 17-gun salute in honor of Vice Adm. Robin R. Braun during the Chief of Navy Reserve, Commander, Navy Reserve Force change of command at the Washington Navy Yard.
Members of the Navy Ceremonial Guard fire a 17-gun salute in honor of Vice Adm. Robin R. Braun during the Chief of Navy Reserve, Commander, Navy Reserve Force change of command at the Washington Navy Yard.

The Numbers: Anywhere from three to seven members firing with a commander. The smaller amount of members on the team does not mean that more shots are fired.

www.dps.alaska.gov
www.dps.alaska.gov Alaska State Troopers with the M16

The Rifles: Traditional rifles are the M1 Garand and, used most often, the M14. The reason for these two rifles being used is the charging handle. The M1903 has a bolt and is awkward to operate smoothly when loading each round. Modern rifles are the M16 and variations of it. Pump action shotguns provide a similar action as the M1 and M14 when loading the rounds.

 

A firing party from Co. C, BSTB, 2nd ABCT, 1st Inf. Army photo
A firing party from Co. C, BSTB, 2nd ABCT, 1st Inf. Army photo

The Stance: Neds to be solid. Do not bend at the waist and do not bend your knees. You can see both of these in the Soldiers in the picture below.

 

“Fires” is the keyword in the first paragraph. The team fires the Salute, it does not “shoot”. Shooting requires taking aim to hit your target. The Firing party does not have a target, it is firing blanks for the Salute and not going to hit anything.

duboiscountyfreepress.com The Indiana State Police Jasper Post Firing Party.
duboiscountyfreepress.com The Indiana State Police Jasper Post Firing Party.

While this is a non-standard stance for the Indiana State Police, you can see their use of shotguns for the team.

Army Firing Party
The Old Guard Firing Party at Arlington National Cemetery

I understand the natural position of taking aim when having a rifle or shotgun in your hands a getting ready to fire the weapon. However, training must involve breaking this habit. It’s a ceremony and must be treated as such. There is a time to take aim and shoot and a time to fire. “Ready, Aim, FIRE!”

www.riley.army.mil A seven-man firing party conducts a rifle volley during a ceremony
www.riley.army.mil A seven-man firing party conducts a rifle volley during a ceremony

In the picture above, you can see how some of these Soldiers are taking aim while using a more modern rifle to fire the volleys.

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Military Drill Experts

Basic MarchingIn the military, we do not mass-produce experts in drill and ceremonies (we do have some experts in D&C, but relatively few). That is not a goal. We produce experts in different specialties with some of those specialties having civilian equivalents and some specialties only appropriate for a military application.  After all, civilian companies do not need a sniper or someone from Field Artillery, but those companies do need the intangible skills of leadership, attention to detail, etc.

In the Air Force (my service) aircraft maintenance crews on the flight line always have the T.O. (technical order) open when they are doing their work on an aircraft. It’s a must to get it right and those in aircraft maintenance, to name just one career field, must adhere strictly to the TO’s standard where every minute detail is outlined; lives depend on that level of adherence to the standard. It is not the same for marching in the military, you will not see the drill and ceremonies manual open to the move that the platoon or flight is currently learning. It’s just not as crucial.

Military marching is a way to move a unit from point A to point B in a timely and professional manner.

Basic Trainees Marching stackflikrcomWe know that drill instills teamwork, leadership, followership, response to commands and a host of other attributes that trainees learn when attending Basic or Boot Camp. Those trainees receive their training from a Drill Sergeant, Drill Instructor or Training Instructor, depending on the branch of service, who is well versed in the service drill and ceremonies manual, of which there are three: 1) Training Circular 3-21.5 for the Army; 2) MCO P5060.20 for the Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard and; 3) AFMAN 36-2203 for the Air Force. These manuals are not meant to create drill experts in any branch of the military. Each branch of the military has a different manual for different levels of drill (i.e. honor guard manuals).

Just because one graduates their service’s Basic Training does not mean they are an expert in drill or that they know how to judge military drill. When trainees graduate their service Basic Training course, they are at a basic level of military knowledge, understanding, and application. Application, there’s the rub.

The application of marching determines the level of expertise.

Application
There are drill masters for each service. They are the extreme few in each service who train those who train the incoming trainees or work directly with the service honor guard drill team. Few DIs, DSs or TIs are experts specifically in drill for our needs (competitive drill). They know drill and it’s application for their service trainees and that’s all they are required to know since they have so much more information that they need to pass along. Then there are members of the service honor guard.

Installations and National Guard (NG) units have honor guards whose members perform ceremonial duties each day of their time on the team. The same goes for the Presidential Honor Guard units. While the installation and NG teams strive to achieve a certain level of ceremonial drill application, the Presidential teams maintain and even surpass the application level for each ceremonial element on a daily basis. However, there are only a certain number who could be considered experts, again, for our purposes. The general population are extremely good at the specifics of what they do, but would not be considered experts in the general sense.

It takes education, training, and practice to march. The same goes for teaching marching and that goes without saying that it is the same for judging. One does not learn how to do something and run off and become an instructor immediately. Likewise for judging. It just doesn’t happen that all the sudden you can teach or judge.

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Literally Cutting the American Flag

from southplattesentinel.com
from southplattesentinel.com

A tattered or faded American Flag is ready for retirement. Retiring an American flag means to burn it. Some people feel that burning a flag, no matter the situation, is still disrespectful. In the flag retirement situation, nothing could be further from the truth.

Burning and Burning
There is a big difference! Americans, who love their country and flag, do not treat that flag with disrespect. We do not just throw it away in the garbage when it is no longer fit for everyday display. There are exceptions to this with historic tattered flags on display across the country. When the flag is no longer suitable for daily display, we take the flag, fold it into a rectangle, and burn it. Some Americans feel the need to burn our country’s flag because they are unable to form a cogent, coherent argument and need to stand on a corner in front of others and push their disrespectful agenda in the face of others by flying a burning American flag.

from conservativepost.com
from conservativepost.com

Side note: I support freedom of speech and some view burning our flag as just that. I will defend the right of people who want to act irresponsibly and burn our flag. I do not like the action, but I do not have to watch and I can treat flags in my charge with respect and care as I hope you will.

The difference? Respect has everything to do with it.

Flag Retirement the Wrong Way

from coladaily.com
from coladaily.com

If you cut the stars from the stripes, it’s not longer the American flag and you can then feel better about burning it. I guess that is the illogical reasoning behind this act of initial disrespect to the flag to avoid disrespect to the flag.

from gps.edu
from gps.edu

Boy and Girl Scouts and many veteran organizations across the country are practicing this disrespect to our flag.

I do not know when or where it started, but it needs to stop right now! We need to educate cadets and Scouts as well as our well-meaning veterans.

Recently, I read a reply to my comment on a social media account that stated ‘since a flag company says on their website that it is OK, we are going to cut our flags.

Flag Retirement, the Correct Way
At home, make a fire on your grill. Fold your flag into a rectangle (no, it does not represent a casket) and place it on the fire. A flag folded into a triangle is much more difficult to burn due to all of the folded layers.

from democraticunderground.com
from democraticunderground.com

In a public ceremony, place the representative flag, folded in a triangle on a very hot fire and follow one of the ceremony guidelines linked below. Burn the rest of the flags eligible for retirement in an incinerator or a roaring fire, preferably not in public.

from democraticunderground.com
from democraticunderground.com

The National Flag Foundation’s Flag Retirement Ceremony

Click here to read the American Legion’s Unserviceable Flag Retirement Ceremony adopted in 1937.

As you can see, no one has ever advocated cutting the canton (blue field) from the stripes. It is extremely disrespectful to do so and it does not matter what some flag-based website has to say as far as a recommendation. Not even this one. I am providing links to professional guidance set forth by groups with the intention of providing the utmost respect.

Associated article: Disrespect to the American Flag

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Military Adventure Camp’s New Facilities!

Military Adventure Camp, the best in Army-based summer training for cadets ages 12-18! Located in Fleming County, Kentucky, the new Camp Sousley, is the next phase of cadet training that began in 1909. Strength and Honor! Visit www.militaryadventurecamp.com for a complete list of wide-ranging cadet training.

I teach the Cadet Joint Service Honor Guard Academy (CJSHGA, click here for the Facebook page), which is only one of a large number of courses offered. When signing up for the course, mention that the DrillMaster sent you and you will receive an over half-price discount for the CJSHGA!

Here is an official message from Mr. Jay Whitehead, Commander, MAC

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