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A Project to Remember Our Veterans

As Veterans Day approaches we want to explore some of the projects that gather the history of many of our veterans and the history of the many men and women who have worked in support roles for these veterans, whether as volunteer medical staff, a welder in an airplane factory or a participant on a USO trip. One of the most important things we can do as a nation is to educate ourselves and our children about the people who have made our nation safe and fought for our independence. One such organization that is doing this is the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. According to the website, the "Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war."

The Project is primarily an oral history project that collects veterans' thoughts and memories of their experience through video and/or audio recordings, if possible. In some records, only written stories are available. The website has a search function that allows you to search the database by several parameters including conflict, branch of service, gender, and rank. Here is a selection on Robert B. McCollum that was a staff favorite of the Project and gives you an idea of the information available.

The Project is part of the Library of Congress and was federally mandated. On the website they answer questions about the type of memorabilia they collect and they have a "kit" that you can use to tell your own story or the story of someone you know. This project is a great learning experience for all ages. For example, your JROTC unit could interview local veterans for the project or your local veterans organization could interview some of its own members. The stories can also be about the people that supported the war effort such as USO workers or war industry workers. Many of you probably have parents or grandparents who worked in industries supplying the war effort during WWII or the Korean War. You have probably heard their stories many times. Many other people would like to hear their stories too. The Project accepts both video and audio accounts.

The Project collects first-hand accounts of U.S. veterans who served in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War (1990-1995), or Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts (2001-present). The Project will also accept the first-hand recollections of U.S. citizens who professionally supported war efforts (such as war industry workers, USO workers, flight instructors, medical volunteers, defense contractors, etc.).

If any Bugler readers have submitted their stories (or the story of a friend or family member) and would like to share names, we will publish names for our readers to research.

Competitive Drill/Cutaways

Cutaways refer to the speed of your hand pin. Just about any time a hand is not in use, it should be pinned at your side. The faster and sharper your cutaways, the better your scores will be in competition.

Cutaways play an important role in both exhibition drill and regulation drill. For instance, think about the moment after your salute at right shoulder arms, when you snap your left hand to your side. This is a cutaway. To enhance your cutaways in regulation drill, practice waiting to the last second of the count, and then "punching" your arm straight down. You want to have a solid pin on beat, but you don't want to move before the last possible moment.

In exhibition drill, I usually practice my cutaways during Rising Sun Exits. If you don't know what that is, watch the video here. During this move, both arms have to be pinned at different times, and that makes it a good move for practice. I could still use more snap in my cutaways, though ... I guess I should go get more practice!

Let's take a look at some picture examples.

In this picture, I was performing a single hand continuous spin. Many drillers make the mistake of missing the hand pin during this move. It becomes painfully obvious because of the duration of the move. Anytime you're working a trick with just one hand, pay even more attention to the hand pin with your free hand.

This example of a bad hand pin is usually performed when a driller first learns behind the back catches. It's called "T-Rexing" because it looks like you have a little T-rex hand. It's silly, and should be avoided at all costs. When turning your body to catch a rifle behind your back, pin your free hand, tighten your abs, and turn with your body locked upright.

The last picture demonstrates a good hand pin. The rifle is in the air, and my hands are by my side. The recovery is important here. My advice is to wait as long as possible, and then snap to position for the catch. It will take a long time to finally get the timing down, but that's the cost of perfection.

On the bright side, you can practice hand pins any time. Are you using only one hand to brush your teeth? Stand with a hand pin. Having a conversation with a friend? Hand pin. Checking yourself out in the mirror? Hand pin! Get in this good habit, and watch the first place trophies roll in!

Adam Jeup has been an active driller for 8 years. Most recently, he's competed 4 times at IWDC. Adam Jeup currently owns and operates Independent Drill, a learning resource for drillers of all skill levels. Stay tuned to the Bugler for more exclusive articles from Adam on competitive drill!

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