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"As I was!"

“As I was”? Stop talking to yourself, talk to your platoon/flight. What does “as I was” mean? Nothing. The term is “As you were.” Here is some info for you from AFM 36-2203, Drill and Ceremonies, which you can download here:

Use the command AS YOU WERE to revoke a preparatory command. After the command of execution has been given and the movement has begun, give other appropriate commands to bring the element to the desired position. If a command is improperly given, the individuals execute the movement to the best of their ability.

Here is another example from MCOP 5060.2:

The command, “AS YOU WERE,” cancels a movement or order started but not completed. At this command, troops should resume their former positions.

Got it? Good! Now, when you make a mistake calling a command, you need to let your unit know that they need to disregard the last word(s) out of your mouth and you can do that by simply stating, “As you were.”

As you were, Sir!
Oh, one more thing: don’t get me started on “As you were, Sir!” Keep your mouth zipped in formation. There is no such thing as “As you were, Sir”! Carry on.

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Is it "Tall or Tap," "Tall Tap" or What?

When first falling-in for a flight or platoon formation, after the dressing to the right, the leader of the formation (Drill or Training Instructor or even the Drill Team Commander) might use a term that some seem to be unfamiliar with, “If you are taller than the person in front of you, tap him on the shoulder and move up!”

The formation is given Right Face (facing the element/squad leaders), told  “If you are taller than the person in front of you, tap him on the shoulder and move up!” and then given Right Face again (facing to the rear of the original formation)), told  “If you are taller than the person in front of you, tap him on the shoulder and move up!” and sometimes given Left Face (facing the element/squad leaders again) and told the same thing for the last time or given About Face to resume the original formation.

To abbreviate this relatively long sentence, the term, “Taller-Tap!” is used. It’s not “tall or tap” or “tall tap,” or any other combination of words, just “Taller-Tap!”

Do not give, “If you are shorter than the person…” This sequence is to ensure the flight/platoon is formed up with the tallest people at the front and at the marching right. Note! If you want shorter people in front, then give “Left Face” in place of each “Right Face” above.

Update: From AFMAN 36-2203, Drill and Ceremonies

4.3.2. To size the flight, the flight commander faces the flight to the right (from line to column formation) and has taller personnel (except the guide, element leaders, and flight sergeant) move to the front of the flight according to height. The flight commander then faces the flight to the right (from column to inverted line formation) and again has taller personnel (except the flight sergeant) move to the front of the flight according to height. The flight commander faces the flight back to the left (column formation) and continues this procedure until all members are properly sized.

And now you know. 🙂

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Your Command Voice

Have you considered your command voice? Have you looked at your service’s manual and actually read about what it says on the proper way to call commands? No, it doesn’t say monotone is OK, it doesn’t say the gravel-in-your-throat style is a good style, it says use inflection, be clear and more! Read! Don’t rely on a senior cadet to tell you what you need to do (as with EVERYTHING else!)- read it for yourself!

“Well, I call commands like this.” “At my school we, [fill in the blank here].” Ever hear of standardization? That is what the military is about, standardizing. Your personal style, what you may think is really cool, does not matter. Stop it.

Click here to listen to some examples of commands in MP3 format and how to call them.

Also read this article, “Root Step” and Command Pronunciation.

When calling commands your voice should have inflection and NOT be monotone (some Navy cadets do this and I cannot figure out why). You should also enunciate each syllable and not leave off the first or last letter or substitute letters:

  • There is no such thing is “Righ, HACE“.
  • The USAF does allow, Forward, HARCH, (it’s in a picture, not text) the other services use MARCH.
  • There is no such thing as “A-Ten-Hut”, or any other number to bring a formation to Attention.
  • There is no need to growl your commands- that means you are calling from your throat. Stop, or you will have problems later in life.
  • There is no such thing is “Orward, ARCH“.

Here is a snippet from my book, The Honor Guard Manual.

Projection
•The ability of your voice to reach whatever distance necessary without undue strain.
•Voice is focused on the person farthest away.
•Assume the position of Attention, breathe properly, relax throat, open mouth and push the air out of your lungs from the diaphragm (place your hand on the top of your stomach, just under your ribcage and try to make those muscles tighten when giving commands).

Distinctness (Clarity)
•Distinct commands are effective; indistinct commands cause confusion.
•Clearly enunciate; use tongue, lips, and teeth to form words and word parts.
•Develop the ability to give clear, distinct commands. Practice giving commands slowly and carefully, prolonging the syllables. Gradually increase the rate of delivery to develop proper cadence, still enunciating each syllable distinctly.

Note: Honor Guard cadence is slow; approximately 90 beats per minute

Inflection
•The rise and fall in pitch and the tone changes of the voice.
•Starting at a normal speaking voice, pronounce the preparatory command with rising inflection.
•A properly delivered Command of execution should have no inflection.
•Command of execution should have a higher pitch than the preparatory command.

Precision
•Expresses confidence and decisiveness
•Expresses knowledge of commands and proper execution
•Commands are called at the proper time and in the proper manner

So, now that you have the info, straight from the manual, you will be able to properly call commands!

Happy drilling!