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Maritime Academy

Drill Team steals third place at Mardi Gras Drill Meet

By Jack Clark, '19

Texas A&M at Galveston steals third place at the 2017 Mardi Gras Drill Meet, hosted at Tulane University. Every year the team makes the trip down to Louisiana to compete in this nationally recognized competition. This year the TAMUG drill team participated in the Color Guard event and Squad Basic Drill. Their placement in the event put TAMUG on the podium above both the Air force Academy and West Point.

The drill meet consist of six different events for teams to compete in. The events are Color Guard, Squad Basic Drill, Platoon Inspection, Platoon Armed Basic Drill, Platoon Exhibition, and individual Exhibition.

The teams all wait to compete in their respective events that they have practiced for, and when the time comes the unit will form up on the drill pad and begin the set routine. The routine can range between 30-90 types of movements that have to be memorized by the commander.

The movements are based off of the Marine Corps style of drill, and are graded by Marine judges who follow the unit on the drill pad. Teams are graded on movements, form, rifle angles, command voice, command presence, and many other meticulous aspects of drill.

Some of the Universities that were present were West Point, Air Force Academy, University of Texas, Kings Point and Texas A&M College Station.

Ian Booth, ’18, XO of the Drill team, explained how the Drill team practices every morning at 0545 for the weeks leading up to the event. The unit also had evening practices on Tuesdays to supplement their morning practices.

The night before the competition, while the team was at the hotel, Booth said that, “we practiced for a few hours and people kept wondering why we had guns in the parking lot.”

Megan Schmidt, ’17, Commanding officer of the unit, prepared the logistics for the competition many weeks prior. As Schmidt recalls, the drill team was expecting to preform later in the day but had to muster up and preform hours before their set time. This happened for both of the events that the team participated in, forcing them to react and adapt quickly to be competitively focused.

Schmidt said that she, “is very proud of the team, because of their work. We added more practices and I pushed them real hard. They did remarkable, and they exceeded expectation.”

When the team was called for their trophy, all the freshman were given the senior privilege of ‘Whooping’, which echoed in the audience.

Schmidt said that, “We like to talk with other schools. We traded brass with guys from the Citadel.”

Alexander Mack, ’18, explained how the freshman members are trained. He said that, “they start out with no arms in the beginning, just drill.” He explained that students not in the Corps can join, as long as they purchase the uniform and stay in regulations.

On campus members of the drill team display their commitment by wearing crossed rifles on their uniforms. Freshman will wear crossed black rifles while returning members to the staff will wear gold crossed rifles.