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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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Communication and Respect

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.

Sgt. Stephanie L. Peavy of Machesney Park, Ill., and Spec. John G. Matsoukas of Chicago, both members of the 244th Army Liaison Team based in Chicago, tests the capability of an operating system being tested by the U.S. military for possible fielding of new equipment during an annual training exercise called Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration. CWID 2011 spans five U.S. locations and more than 20 coalition partners worldwide. The participating technologies were approved based on how well they address capability gaps and evaluates how well they assists in the exchange of information between coalition partners, military services, government agencies, first responders and U.S. combatant commanders.

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 first time, every time.

Social media has literally destroyed communication while creating an overabundance of it. It is just words on a screen and anyone can write anything they want and send it to anyone or even everyone. No longer, are people dealing directly with other people, it is now through a screen and many are so flippant, they spew their vile hate-filled words at its worst. I’m not talking about the idiotically-defined “hate”, which can be anything that “offends”, I’m talking about the incessant use of swear words thrown around with ease or, at the least, just the complete lack of respect shown to others regardless of who they are. I am not calling for a “sir-sandwich” with every comment, but to rip into someone online is just inexcusable.

Using a 45-year old adult named Alfred as the subject, if you, a high school student, follow of one of Alfred’s social media accounts, even though the social network says that you both are “friends”, you most certainly are not. You are not even acquaintances unless you have met in person. Even if you are in your 20s, address other adults by their last name or Sir/Ma’am. If you know Alfred by his rank, then that is how you address him- that is how you address everyone unless otherwise specified. I know many veterans, retirees, law enforcement, EMS and firefighters. Some of them I address by their rank- I have never asked nor have they said otherwise, and some of them I call by their first name. However, I always begin by using rank, last name or sir/ma’am. It is best to begin with respect and communicate that you think the other person deserves respect.

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Proverbs

You must start at a mutual basis; everyone deserves respect, regardless if you are given respect or not. I see some online accounts with a statement that goes something like this: ‘Treat me well and I will treat you well.’ It does not work that way. Sure, you can treat someone else like they are just a piece of garbage just because they did not respect you first, but that is just a big cop-out. We all have a responsibility to treat others with respect, regardless of how others treat you. Do you not like that you have a responsibility to others? That is the reality of life, even though others do not live up to that responsibility. It has to start with someone, who better than you?

warrior-sitting-bull

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“Guard, Fix the Flag”

JROTC Colors savananow-comIt’s a windy day. Your JROTC color guard is up next for the competition. You move into position on the drill, colors at Carry and rifles at Right Shoulder, pad and give the order to go to Present Arms. The rifles guards execute the Present Arms position, the American flag is flying in the breeze, and the spade at the top of the staff for the state flag, while it is being pushed forward, catches the American flag at the corner and the flag wraps around the point on the spade. If you notice in time, you realize that if either of the flags move independently, the American flag, made of nylon, will have a nice rip, or at least, a run that will render the flag useless, requiring the purchase of a new flag. What should happen next?

Fix it! The color team commander, the bearer of the American flag (only, no one else is ever the commander), must give an informational command to have the right or left rifle guard proceed to fix it. If need be, bring the staffs out of the harness cup/socket, proceed with whatever needs to be fixed and then carry on with the performance like nothing happened. The impression left on the judge/audience will be much better then if a disaster is left to happen.

You have been trained to execute the sequence and, just like exhibition Drillers who must practice on how to recover from a drop or hit, your team should make sure they are prepared to handle a mishap or accident without breaking their bearing. Handle it in a professional manner and everyone will remember your stellar performance.

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How to Create and Teach Drill Team Ripples

The “domino effect” does not accurately describe what we call a ripple in exhibition drill. Dominos fall and that’s it. Yes, it’s a ripple, but nothing else happens. Not very effective for a drill team.

This video is a great illustration of the domino effect, using books.

[embedplusvideo height=”296″ width=”474″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1OUINOO” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/WWUPA-xUsFo?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=WWUPA-xUsFo&width=474&height=296&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep1981″ /]

However, we are talking about a ripple for a military drill team.

What is a ripple?

For military drill purposes, it is an action that begins at one point and is then repeated along a line of Drillers to another point or points.

Are there Different kinds?

Not necessarily, but variation in a ripple line is very effective. These variations are

  1. Left to Right
  2. Right-to-Left
  3. Center outward (starting at the center and moving out to both ends)
  4. Out-inward (starting at both ends going to the center)
  5. Slow-to-Fast (gradual and immediate)
  6. Fast-to-Slow (gradual and immediate)

How does one go about teaching a team to perform a ripple?

To begin, use a metronome and go slowly. Use a metronome application on your phone, set it to 2/4 (for a tick-tock, high-low, type of beat) and set a slow tempo around 90 BPM (beats per minute). If you need to set it slower, that is not a problem; make sure that everyone is comfortable with the speed, you can always increase it as everyone improves.

The slower tempo allows everyone to begin on a tick or a tock and ensures a solid timing framework from which you can then increase the tempo. Using the metronome is only for creating timing. It is almost impossible to get the metronome going fast and have everyone follow it.Once the team can build speed into the ripple, leave out the metronome and visually get your cue on when to move.

Once the team can build speed into the ripple, leave out the metronome and visually get your cue on when to move. Here is an example: the person to my right (A) is going to go to Right Shoulder and I (B) am going to repeat it and then the person to my left (C) will do the same in a ripple. When A goes to Port, that is my cue to do the same which is C’s cue to move. We all then finish executing Right Shoulder as slowly or as quickly as needed.

When you want a very fast tempo in your ripple, using the analogy above of executing Right Shoulder, instead of waiting for the person to execute Port, my cue will be A’s initial movement of the rifle.

The Combined Drill Teams of the Belarus Military

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The Ross Volunteers of Texas A&M University

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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.