The Bugler

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The DrillMaster

As Honor Guard competitions and Drill season begins in full swing, Glendale wanted to share with you some of the knowledge that John Marshall, the Drill Master, offers in his books and on his website, Marshall served 20 years in the US Air Force with 14 of those years dedicated to the Air Force Base Honor Guard program. He retired in 2005. He has been a member, instructor and/or judge for marching bands, drum and bugle corps, indoor guard and percussion units, military drill teams and honor guard units around the world. In 2009, through DrillMaster Press, he began writing and publishing the first modern books for the military drill world.

In 2009, John K. Marshall, The DrillMaster, self-published his first book, Exhibition Drill for the Military Drill Team, the first modern book explaining the basics of exhibition drill routine creation. It has drill move diagrams for the parade road and drill field and the first DrillMaster Routine Mapping Tools for the drill team field, the soloist field, a basketball court and the Police Week exhibition area.

For the next two years, he worked on writing the only published military drill adjudication system from his years of training and experience in judging marching bands, drum and bugle corps and winter guard units translated into military terms culminating in two books: The World Drill Association Adjudication Manual and Continuing Education for the WDA Adjudicator. The first book explains the four visual adjudication captions used in all pageantry arts, again, translated for use in military drill competitions and the second book addresses the advanced theory of judging. DrillMaster training and certification is available for judges.

Published in 2011, Exhibition Drill for the Military Drill Team, Vol II expanded on the foundation begun with the first book. Volume II includes explanations of creating effect, driller responsibilities, and how to teach and practice an exhibition drill routine, plus much more; there is even a language created by Mr. Marshall for use with the Routine Mapping Tools and lesson plans for teaching the contents of all four books!

In 2012, The Honor Guard Manual, the first published standard for honor guards came into being. Geared toward first responders - firefighter, law enforcement and EMS teams - the manual spells out the standard that the presidential honor guard units use in joint-service situations: firing party, pall bearer casket movement, flag folding, and complete color guard information including fire axe and pike pole manuals. The manual also covers special events like the POW/MIA and the Fallen First Responder ceremonies and other occasions. DrillMaster honor guard academy and clinic training and instructor certification is based on the information in this book.

Building on the educational foundation of the Exhibition Drill and Honor Guard Manual books by answering the questions raised by readers, 2013 saw the publishing of The DrillMaster: Filling in the Gaps, an organized printed version of all of the 2012 articles from The articles further work to translate pageantry arts movement training and visual dynamics for the military drill world. Volume II of the same name saw the articles from 2013 and 2014 published in November 2014.

DrillMaster certified drill team and color guard instructors use the previous books in their certification process. Instructors will find the new Drillmaster books invaluable in their application.

Coming from DrillMaster Publishing in 2015, five new pocket-sized training aids called DrillMaster Field Manuals. Two of these books cover regulation drill specific to (competitive) cadet programs and the other three are for honor guard units. More information about the Field Manual series of books is forthcoming. Stay tuned!

Glendale Parade Store offers all DrillMaster books. For more information on the DrillMaster Military Drill Education and Training System, please visit,find The DrillMaster on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and several pages on Facebook as well.

Check out for his WDA Adjudication Manual and Rule Book, Continuing Education for the WDA Visual Adjudicator, Exhibition Drill for the Military Drill Team, Exhibition Drill for the Military Drill Team, Vol. II, The DrillMaster: Filling in the Gaps! and The Honor Guard Manual books.

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