Pride Poise Perfection
What goes into making a top-ranked
precision Silent Drill Team? The United
States Coast Guard starts with the pick of
the yearly crop of recruits, fresh out of
recruit training (boot camp) and assigns
them to the elite 60-member Honor Guard.
Then, the Honor Guard along with the Drill
Team's Drill Master holds tryouts among its
own when positions become available. It is
these 16-20 selected from the 60 who become
the award-winning U.S. Coast Guard Silent
Members of the Drill Team have double duties in the Honor Guard. Their first duty is to the Honor Guard to serve in capacities to include: Firing Party, Body Bearing Team and Colors. As members of the Honor Guard, they participate in joint military colors ceremonies, and other ceremonial displays requested by the White House and Pentagon. The Honor Guard also supplies Coast Guard representation in the traditional ceremonial guard of the Tomb of the Unknowns. When not involved with their Honor Guard duties, the Drill Team is on the road, representing the Coast Guard in a wide variety of parades, competitions and celebrations.
Some trips are remembered by Drill Team members for their special demands on precision and perseverance, such as the 3 mile parade in which they marched during the week of St. Patrick's Day in Savannah, Georgia- and the effort to stay on their feet while performing precision parade manual drill on cobbled streets in the second largest St. Patrick's Day parade in the United States.
Other invitations to perform are especially looked forward to, such as the team's annual trip to Grand Haven, Michigan, known as Coast Guard City, U.S.A., where the predominantly Coast Guard citizenry honor their service with a weeklong celebration.
Where ever the team has traveled, from Clearwater, Florida, to Springfield, Illinois, and points West, its members take pride in placing the Coast Guard's best and most precise foot forward. Their success is well indicated by the awards, honors and citations the team has won over the years and continues to add to annually.
The key to the team's success is its spirit of elite teamwork. The process of building the team begins with the Honor Guard's careful selection of members from Coast Guard Training Center (boot camp or recruit training) located in Cape May, New Jersey.
Being a highly respected and dedicated unit in its own right, the Honor Guard begins by taking only the cream of the crop of recruits, chosen for their high marks in dress, drill, personality, and service motivation. These recruits receive orders to the Honor Guard base of operations, at Coast Guard Telecommunication and Information Systems Command (TISCOM), in Alexandria, Virginia, where they go through the required training necessary before being accepted and advanced to the rate of Seaman.
Upon each available opening on the Drill Team, which is determined by the Drill Master, these seaman, already team-oriented, are selected and given the opportunity to try out for the Drill Team. For a month in advance, each applicant also known as a "Drill Team Prospect" works closely with members of the present Drill Team to prepare for their first performance. Once a prospect has advanced in his or her initial training they are placed in an actual Drill Team performance. If the member successfully completes the performance with no flaws they are then accepted on the Drill Team where they continue to hone their skills.
In order for the team to become one cohesive unit they practice five days a week for a minimum of two hours each day. They learn the special disciplines of ceremonial drill and deportment. They learn to precisely execute the standard manual of arms presentations. Most of all, they learn to work as a team, leaving any differences of opinion and racial, regional or religious background behind.
The result is a team of men and women who take pride in their reputations as one of the finest on-going drill team in the nation. This year's team will receive many new invitations to participate in both military and civilian parades and competitions, and, if the past is any indication, will be asked back again by many who've already enjoyed their performances.
Funding and their priority scheduling as members of the Honor Guard permitting, they'll be there. And they'll perform just as the Coast Guard and they, themselves, expect from the Coast Guard Silent Drill Team- as the best.
For further information, or requests to have the U.S. Coast Guard Silent Drill Team participate in any planned activity, contact the Drill Master, DC1 Andrew Hammersmith at (703) 313-5403 or E-mail: DC1 Hammersmith