How Close Order Drill Prepares Us To Protect

1197 words - 5 pages

The concept of close order drill has been used in some form in every war since the inception of the U.S. Marine Corps, and the practice still proves useful in the twenty-first century. It is much more than the Silent Drill Platoon performing on commercials to attract young adults to the military. This art form is being set aside in Marine Corps after a decade of war; even though drill influences combat efficiency by instilling precision, automatic response to orders and develops assertive leaders.
From the first day of recruit training to a one’s retirement formation, the precision of close order drill is engrained in every Marine’s mind and body. Being in the corps, the desire to achieve perfection in instilled in all of us whether it is in drill, our jobs or our lives in general. The precision of Staff Sgt. Steve Reichert, a scout sniper assigned to Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, saved the lives of his squad on April 4, 2004 in Lutafiyah, Iraq. While his squad was pinned down by rocket propelled grenades, machine-gun and small-arms fire; Reichert made the shots from 1,614 meters, approximately a mile away, killing two insurgents and wounding two more. According to his platoon leader’s account, “His accuracy was the deciding factor in the outcome of the firefight. ” Reichert’s discipline and precision under pressure saved the lives of his Marines and earned his the Bronze Star Medal for Valor. This Marine’s dedication to his job and his ability to use his sniper rifle requires the same amount of discipline and exactness needed to perform close order drill correctly. Drill is black and white, either you execute the moves properly or you do not. Placement of hands, feet, rifles and swords need to be exact each time; much like the precision needed to accurately fire a sniper rifle in combat to engage the enemy. Just as important as performing precision movements, the ability to respond automatically to orders is just as essential to close order drill as it is to combat efficiency.
Life or death in combat is influenced by the decisions Marines make and how quickly they can make them. Acting automatically and without hesitation is as essential in combat as it is in close order drill. If you think about the command “right face” and delay your movement in formation, you are instantly recognized and stand out against your peers. The muscle memory and ability to perform drill in quick execution can be related to acting and thinking on your feet in combat. Cpl. William T. Perkins Jr., a combat photographer assigned to Company C, First Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division, was able to respond automatically without hesitation to save three fellow Marines in the Republic of Vietnam on October 12th, 1967. During a hostile attack, Perkins, “in a valiant act of heroism, hurled himself upon the grenade absorbing the impact of the explosion with his own body thereby saving the lives of his comrades at the cost of his own....

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