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Flag Fold “Helps”

In my theology degree studies, I use several books and online resources that are all called “helps” and they are extremely helpful. Well, we all need “helps” in all kinds of situations and folding the American flag is definitely one of them.

Here is one of the videos I made explaining how to fold the flag using just two people. In this particular video, I try to go in-depth to help you understand what I have found to be the best technique.

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The Triangle Folds

The picture below is for reference. You can make the second horizontal fold come to match the first or, to make the traingle folds a little more sturdy, you can bring that second fold up to the top (the flag’s far right edge in the picture).

Horizontal Folds

Now I have a couple of pictures to share with with you. The first one is in regards to the first triangle fold to land in the blue field. First, the tip of this fold should land around the first row of stars. If it does not fall within this area there are a couple things you can do. First, take care of the excess or shortage of material at the tuck at the end and the other is described below.

Into the Blue1

Sometimes, with a flag that is stretched out from many folds or a poorly-made flag, that first fold into the blue doesn’t quite make it or the fold that should go into the blue completely falls short and you have a flat end right at the edge of the blue field, as pictured. The way around this dilemma is to pull the flag out of its fold as indicated, which will help take up some room so there will be an appropriate amount of flag to tuck at the end.

Flag Fold Techniques Pull Out

Below, is the standard finish that many of us who have folded an American flag remember accomplishing. There is nothing wrong with it and it can work very well. When at this point, it is best to fold the point at the far right onto the material to be tucked so that there is less material to tuck- this then may create a thicker flag.

Standard Tuck

You may find that tucking the remaining material as pictured below makes the final tuck a little easier.

Last Fold to Tuck

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The “Savard Manual” or “Savards”

Al Savard Tomb Guard Mirror
Al Savard before stepping out onto the plaza c. 1956

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 man so we do not hear much of the honor guard. I would love some information of the Savard Manual if anyone could share with me this I would be grateful. I’m very proud of my dad and the man he is. Thank you for all that you have done for our country we have many people and blessings to be grateful for.

DrillMaster: Unfortunately, I do not know anything about a Savard Manual and cannot find any information on it. If you can point me in the right direction, I may be able to obtain something for you. Us the manual for honor guard units? Is geared toward the military, law enforcement, firefighters, or fraternal organizations?

Al Savard Tomb Guard
Al Avard as a Tomb Guard c. 1956

Leslie: My dad was stationed at the Tumb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington DC around 1956 and he has apparently created a maneuver and it is referred to as the Savard Manual or close to this. Thank You for your time I appreciate it.

DM: Oh, I see! Alright, I’ll check into this. I’m thinking that what your father created is a process for the Tomb Guard to manipulate the rifle, what we call a “manual”, as in the manual of arms. I’ll get back to you!

This was the information I needed! I posted a question on the Facebook page, The Old Guard (TOG) asking for any available information on some sort of printed manual. A couple of TOG members told me that nothing is written, the manuals are handed down to the next generation. Another TOG member gave me Mr. Savard’s page on He is listed as a Founding Father for the Tomb Guard Society and was possible one of a team of Soldiers, or maybe even “the one”, who developed the manuals that the Sentinels and Drill Team use to this day with modifications here and there.

I passed the information on to Leslie and asked if I could write an article and if Leslie had some pictures of her father.

Leslie: Wow Thank You you have pulled up a lot of information. What does Founding Father mean in terms of the guard? I will see if I can find an old picture of him at the Tomb that would be great and such an honor to him. I really appreciate your time.

I still needed more information and thought I might turn to  a friend of mine who was a previous senior soloist on the Old Guard, Andres Ryan. Here is where the final puzzle pieces fell into place!

Al Savard Drill Team
Al Savard and the US Army Drill Team c. 1956

DM: Andres, do you know of a Savard Manual?

Andres: Yes, there is a Savard and a Hidden Savard. It’s a transition maneuver that takes you from either Order to a Prep Position for the 1.5 throw, or the Hidden Savard that takes you to the Inverted Carry. These are Army Drill Team maneuvers. Actually, one of those tricks you have to learn during the Annual Training Cycle . It’s kinda tricky. You would have to watch it in slow motion a lot to actually understand what’s going on because its like a Half Spin-Out and then Half Spin-In right when you reach Full Extension. The technique is something we referred to as “Playing the Fiddle”.

DM: Mr. Savard was a Sentinel, why does the Drill Team use his moves?

Andres: Back then, the Tomb Sentinels all marched on the Drill Team, that was the standard in those days. I don’t know if he made the technique but its really cool if that’s the legacy he left. One of those moves takes forever to wrap your head around in the Cycle.

Thank you Ryan and the others who had a hand in finding the answer for the proud daughter of a US Army Soldier.

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Reciting the Pledge with a Colors Presentation

LE Colors from nba-comAt ceremonies across the country, many local municipalities request a color team from military installations or even first responders. Quite often, music is not available so those gathered recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The picture above is from

Here is how to do it:

  1. The MC says something like this. “Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the presentation [or posting*] of the colors.”
  2. Color team enters as usual and stops centered in front of the audience.
  3. The commander of the color team gives the loud command, “Present, ARMS!”
  4. The MC, or a designated person steps up to the microphone and says something like, “Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in reciting the Pledge. I pledge…”
  5. The commander of the color team gives the command, “Port, ARMS!” and the color team [posts the colors and then] departs.

*Only post the colors for more ceremonial occasions.

That is it. Color team commanders, please do not order the audience to begin, it is not your place.

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Don’t Break Vertical

Don't Break VerticalWhen 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 lift the rifle off the marching surface on the preparatory command. Accomplish that only right after the command of execution, Face, while executing the first count of the movement (see the pictures, above).

When you move, the rifle must remain vertical, lift it just enough to clear the ground/deck and move it to directly next to the right foot on the second count of the movement.

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The Medal of Honor Flag

MOH FlagAll Medal of Honor (MOH) awardees (no one “wins” this medal) are authorized a presentation, at government expense, of the MOH flag.

The following is from the US Army’s Institute of Heraldry.

A light blue flag with gold fringe bearing thirteen white stars in a configuration as on the Medal of Honor ribbon.

The light blue color and white stars are adapted from the Medal of Honor ribbon. The flag commemorates the sacrifice and blood shed for our freedoms and gives emphasis to the Medal of Honor being the highest award for valor by an individual serving in the Armed Forces of the United States.

Public Law 107-248, Section 8143, legislated the creation of a Medal of Honor Flag for presentation to each person to whom a Medal of Honor is awarded after the date of the enactment, October 23, 2002. A panel of eight members made of representatives from each Service (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard), one Office of Secretary Defense staff, one historian and one representative from the Medal of Honor Society was formed to review and evaluate all designs submitted and make a final recommendation to the Principal Deputy to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. On 15 December 2004, the design submitted by Ms. Sarah LeClerc, Illustrator at The Institute of Heraldry was approved.

Public Law 109-364, Section 555, titled “Authority for Presentation of Medal of Honor Flag to Living Medal of Honor Recipients and to Living Primary Next-of-Kin of Deceased Medal of Honor Recipients,” dated October 17, 2006, established authority to award the Medal of Honor Flag, upon written request therefor, to the primary next of kin, as determined under regulations or procedures prescribed by the Secretary of Defense, of deceased Medal of Honor Recipients.

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The DrillMaster Broadcasts Live on Periscope!

DrillMaster PeriscopeOn January 30th, 2016, I will broadcast two or three routines from Merrit Island High School’s Army JROTC Drill Competition while I judge platoon exhibition and regulation. The broadcasts are then turned into video recordings

If you don’t have Periscope, go to your app store for your smartphone, download it, and then follow @TheDrillMaster!