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Close Order Drill


Purpose.  The purposes of drill are:


  • To move a unit from one place to another in a standard, orderly manner.
  • To teach discipline by instilling habits of precision and automatic response to orders.
  • To increase the confidence of officers and noncommissioned officers through the exercise of command, by giving of proper commands, and by control of drilling troops.




  • Element.An individual, squad, section, platoon, company, or other unit which is part of a larger unit.


  • Formation. Arrangement of elements of a unit in line, in column, or in any other prescribed manner.


  • Line. A formation in which the elements are side by side or abreast of each other.


  • Rank. A line of cadets placed side by side.


  • Column. A formation in which elements are placed one behind the other.


  • File. A single column of cadets one behind the other.


  • Flank. The right or left extremity of a unit, either in line or in column.  The element on the extreme right or left of the line.  A direction at a right angle to the direction an element or a formation is facing.


  • Front. The space occupied by an element, measured from one flank to the other.


  • Distance. Space between elements in the direction of depth.  Between individuals, the space between your chest and the back of the person to your front.  In troop formations, distance is 40 inches.


  • Interval. The lateral space between elements on the same line (shoulder to shoulder).  Normal interval between individuals is one arm’s length.  Close interval is the horizontal distance between the shoulder and elbow when the left hand is placed on the left hip.


  • Alignment.The dressing of several elements or individuals on a straight line.


  • Pace. The length of a full step in quick time, 30 inches.


  • Step. The distance from heel to heel of a marching individual.  The half step and back step are 15 inches. The right and left step are 12 inches.  The step in quick time is 30 inches while the step in double time is 36 inches.


  • Quick Time. Cadence at 112-120 steps per minute.


  • Double Time. Cadence at 180 steps per minute.


  • Cover.  Aligning yourself with the person directly in front of you.



Commands and the Command Voice.


There are two types of commands.

  • Preparatory Command – such as “FORWARD” – indicates a movement is to be made.
  • Command of Execution – such as “MARCH” – causes the movement to be made.


In some commands, such as ‘FALL IN”, “FALL OUT”, “AT EASE”, and “REST”, the preparatory command and the command of execution are combined.


The commander must give commands clearly and distinctly, loud enough to be heard by all cadets in the unit.  The preparatory command should be given with a rising inflection, having begun near the level of the natural talking voice.  The command of execution is given in a sharper and higher pitch.  It must have snap, ending like the crack of a whip.


General Rules for Drill.


  • The commander may place himself/herself wherever he/she can best control the unit, make corrections, and ensure proper performance.
  • The position of attention is the proper posture for giving commands.
  • When giving facing commands to the troops, the commander does not execute the facing movements.
  • The commander will remain at right shoulder arms when drilling troops with arms.
  • The command “AS YOU WERE” cancels a movement or order started but not completed. It must be stated prior to the command of execution.
  • While marching, guide is always maintained to the right, except:

        Upon command, “GUIDE LEFT” or “GUIDE CENTER”.

       When marching in the flank (“BY THE LEFT/RIGHT FLANK”), guide is to the center.

       At the command of execution for a drill movement involving marching, the direction toward which alignment is obtained is the flank toward which the movement is made.  Upon completion of the drill movement, alignment goes back to the right.

  • The cadence of commands should be that of quick time.
  • When marching a squad or platoon, there should be a one step pause between the preparatory command and the command of execution.
  • When marching, after receiving a command of execution, you take one additional step and then execute the movement.





Hand Salute


The command is HAND, SALUTE; READY TWO.

When HAND SALUTE is given,

  • raise your right hand smartly in the most direct manner until the tip of your forefinger touches the lower part of the headdress above and slightly to the right of your right eye.
  • Your thumb and fingers should be straight and touch each other.
  • You should be able to see your entire palm when looking straight ahead.
  • Your upper arm should be level with the deck and forearm at a 45-degree angle.
  • Your wrist and hand should be straight, a continuation of the line made by your forearm.
  • At the same time, if not in ranks, turn your head and eyes toward the person or color you are saluting.

At the command READY TWO, return to attention.

  • Move your hand smartly in the most direct manner back to its normal position by your side.
  • To insure simultaneous execution of the second movement of the hand salute when troops are in formation, the preparatory command, "ready" will be used prior to the command of execution, TWO.

You may salute without command from attention, while walking, or while seated in a vehicle. When walking, it is not necessary to halt to salute. Keep walking, but at attention. The salute is rendered when the person or color to be saluted is six paces distant, or at the nearest point of approach if it is apparent that he/she (it) is going to approach to within six paces. The salute will not be rendered if the person (color) to be saluted does not approach within thirty paces. Hold the first position of the salute until the person (color) saluted has passed or the salute is returned; then execute the second movement of the hand salute.

Whenever the command PRESENT, ARMS is given, you will execute the hand salute on the command ARMS. Stay at that position until the command ORDER, ARMS is given. This salute is normally used during parades, ceremonies, etc. whenever arms are carried.






The position of attention is the basic military position. It indicates you are alert and ready for instructions. Come to attention with smartness and snap at the commands FALL IN or ATTENTION. Thereafter, move only as ordered until given AT EASE, REST, FALL OUT or DISMISSED. To come to attention:

  • Bring left heel against the right.
  • Turn your feet out equally to form an angle of 45 degrees. Keep your heels on the same line and touching.
  • Your legs should be straight but not stiff at knees.
  • Hips level and drawn back slightly, body held erect and resting equally on hips, shoulders square and falling equally.
  • Arms hanging straight down without stiffness, thumbs along seams and/or side of skirt, back of hands out, fingers held naturally.
  • Weight resting evenly on heels and balls of feet.



Four Positions of Rest


Parade rest is executed from the position of attention only.

  • The command is "parade, REST."
  • It is executed in one count.
  • At command REST, the left foot is moved smartly 12 inches to left of right foot.
  • Weight of body rests equally on both feet.
  • Hands behind back, palms to rear, thumb and fingers of right hand clasp left thumb lightly.
  • Silence and immobility required



  • The command is "AT EASE."
  • It is executed in one count.
  • At the command, right foot is kept in place, left foot moved approximately 12 inches to left of right foot.
  • Silence required, complete immobility is not required.



  • The command is "REST."
  • It is executed in one count. Right foot is kept in place.
  • Silence and immobility are not required.



  • The command is "FALL OUT."
  • At the command, leave ranks but remain in immediate area.
  • When FALL IN is given, go back to your place in ranks and come to attention.



Squad (Platoon), ATTENTION

may be given when you are halted at PARADE REST, AT EASE or REST. It may also be given when you are marching at route step or AT EASE.

  • When given at parade REST, come to ATTENTION.
  • When halted, AT EASE or REST, take position of parade REST on the command "squad." When ATTENTION is given, come to that position,
  • When marching at ROUTE STEP or AT EASE, get in step as soon as possible and continue marching at ATTENTION.



Facing Movements


The purpose of facing movements is to face a unit to the right, left or about. Facing movements are executed in two counts when halted at attention. The commands are “Right, FACE;” “Left, FACE;” and “About, FACE.” Facing movements are executed in the cadence of quick time. While facing, your arms should not swing out from your sides, but remain at the position of attention. All facing movements are two-count movements.




  • On count one, at the command “FACE,” raise your left heel and right toe slightly. Turn to the right on your right heel and left toe.
  • Keep your left leg straight but not stiff.
  • On count two, place the left foot smartly beside the right and stand at attention.




Left Face is executed in the same manner described above, substituting left for right and right for left.






  • At the command “About,” shift your weight to your left leg without noticeable movement.
  • On count one, at the command “FACE,” place your right toe half a foot length behind and slightly to the left of your heel. Do not change the position of your left foot. Rest your weight evenly on the left heel and the ball of the right foot.
  • On count two, turn smartly to the right until facing rear. The turn is made on the left heel and ball of the right foot. The knees remain straight, but not locked during the movement. Your thumbs will remain on the seams of your trousers.
  • If properly executed you will be at the position of attention facing in the opposite direction.