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At our December Quarterdeck Meeting we looked at the meeting plans.

Not having ever served in any branch of the military I have a hard time with Drill.

One of the Scouts said his Dad had served in the US Marines.

We asked if he would be willing to come down and work with our Scout, he agreed and said he'd attend the meeting we had last Monday.

Something came up and I knew I wasn't going to get to the meeting on time. I e-mailed our Boatswain and my Mate's telling them to go ahead and start without me.

The meetings start at 1900 and we start on time!!

I arrived about nine minutes late.

The Scouts were all lined up and there in dress blue uniform of the US Marines was the man putting the Scouts through drill.

I hadn't expected the uniform.

Boy was this guy good!!

When I have attempted to do this sort of thing with our Scouts for ceremonies I have at best lasted ten or fifteen minutes.

Our meetings are supposed to run for ninety minutes, with about thirty minutes for an indoor parking lot meeting! He ran over by about ten minutes and had the attention of the Scouts all of the time.

I was really impressed.

The Ship now has it's own private and personal drill instructor and I need to do a better job of polishing my shoes!!



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After attending the Winter Training Weekend Close Order Drill is something that the Ship wants to work on.


They are working on the plans to attend the Regatta on Memorial Day weekend and want to at least do a decent job in this part of the competition.


They would have worked on it earlier but we are attending a Scout Show this weekend and they have been busy working on the display and activities for it, so Drill is on the schedule for the next meeting.


As a Scout, my patrol learned the basics of close order drill but just as a way to do a better job at Flag ceremonies.


I have never been in the military and wish I had this type of resource available.



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Almost every unit has this resource available. They are called VETERANS. Also, if your town has a reserve center within about 50 miles, there will likely be a reservist who lives in your town. Contact the unit, ask to speak with the unit commander or senior enlisted advisor (as the title varies by branch of service) and most units would be more than glad to have one or two young people help out. For a little more excitement, ask if you can bring your unit to them on their Drill Weekend. Clearly, you won't be drilling there all the time, but it would be fun for your scouts. If you go there, ask in advance about meals and how much they are or should you bring your own, Each reserve center may have different rules.


I know at the Boy Scout level, close order drill is generally forowned upon, but it sure makes for great looking parades and Clor Guard ceremonies.



PM me if you have difficulty finding a unit or need additional help or clarification.

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Before the hippies took over the BSA in 1972 and destroyed William Hillcourt's Methods of Scouting, "Silent Scout Signals" was part of the Game of Scouting.


As William Hillcourt notes:


"A certain amount of drill is necessary for getting the Troop and Patrols into position for various activities and for moving the Troop with a semblance of order and smartness.


"For this Scouting does not resort to military drill, but has developed its own technique, easily learned and considered by the boys as a game rather than a drill."


See The Inquiry Net:




See also links for:


Informal Leadership Signals

Dan Beard's Stalking Gesture Signals

Scout Stave Positions: "Manual of the Staff"




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As the only career veteran in the troop, the Scoutmaster calls on me to do some basic drill-style training for ceremonies. When we we practiced last week for the upcoming Scout Sunday, I had the troop practice the Scout Salute and the Scout Sign. We don't harp on it much, but we would like to look sharp on Sunday.


I will also be working with the flag ceremony team for an upcoming Eagle Court of Honor.


Other than that, I don't care for drill training in Scouting. We have better ways of maintaining discipline within the troop.


We had a camp commissioner some years back who insisted on using military style commands for flag ceremonies (present arms, order arms, etc.), among other things. We had a short conversation where I expressed my concerns and he made some very interesting comments about my patriotism (I never brought up that I was a combat veteran). We haven't seen him since.


Now, if I could get our youngest assistant Scoutmaster to stop wearing a complete set of BDUs with LBE on campouts...




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All we need is in the Sea Scout Manual.

While I was safely tucked away on the other side of the pond in 1972 working on earning my Queen's Scout as a Venture Scout.

I kinda think maybe I held some Hippie type views.

At that time I really didn't want anything to do with anything that might be seen as coming under "Military".

At the Sea Scout Training Weekend in Maryland a presentation on Sea Scout Ceremonies was given.

Sea Scout ceremonies are full of bells and whistles, double salutes and steeped in tradition.

After the presentation I was talking with some Sea Scouts, who I didn't know. They were saying it was all very silly and that this isn't the military.

I couldn't help but think when I looked at them how much they were like me at their age.

I tried to explain that we really were not trying to be a military organization, but a lot of the things in Sea Scouts have to do with tradition. We spent about 10 or 15 minutes talking about the navy and naval traditions. I think my accent made it a little more interesting. As ever I got a little off track. One minute we were talking about Admiral Nelson and the next James Bond!!

I'm unsure if I changed their thinking?

Drill is an elective in the Sea Scout program, but ceremonies are required. My thinking is that as long as we have them we need to do them well.

I was happy with the way the Dad presented the drill instruction. I was really happy that the Scouts seemed to enjoy it and were having fun.

Next week we a retired Coastie who was a radio operator coming in to do a presentation on Marine Radio. His son played soccer with OJ after graduation went to the Naval academy. Last time he and OJ talked, OJ was green with envy.


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My crew does about 95% drill and love it.


My trooop did a little "drill" at summer camp and found the process very efficient for my leaders.


When boys stand in patrols and with buddies in an organized manner, "roll" can be taken visually in a split second without having to count moving heads, and if someone is missing, their buddy should know where he is. Standing in a uniform position at flag ceremonies is also a little more efficient than single file, saluting the back of the head of the guy ahead of you.


The efficiency of such things really makes life a lot easier if done right.

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It's interesting to me that, in spite of the BSA trying hard since it's origins NOT to look like a paramilitary organization, the Sea Scouts still wear a Navy uniform. In fact, the BSA does not produce SS uniforms, they are authorized to buy them from the Navy. Only the insignia are different. So, if the SS are not a "military" organization, why do they want to look like one? Couldn't they wear the Venturing uniform and still do the same activities? If kids want to learn the history and traditions of the Navy and look like Sailors, they can join the Sea Cadets or NJROTC.


That being said, I think the SS are a wonderful organization steeped in tradition. I'm just trying to figure out the mixed messages.

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