Photo Information

United States Marines practice sword manual during Ceremonial Drill School at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., Jan. 8, 2015 (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Christian J. Varney/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Christian Varney

Preparing for parade season: Ceremonial Drill School

9 Jan 2015 | Lance Cpl. Christian Varney Marine Barracks

Parades at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., are phenomenal. It takes an enormous amount of coordination to make the Evening Parade happen. Crowds see the ceremonial marchers, the hosting element, the United States Marine Band, the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, and the Silent Drill Platoon. What is not seen are the countless hours that each of the individual augments put in during the off season.

Ceremonial Drill School (CDS) is how the officers and staff noncommissioned officers of the Barracks do their part in preparation for parade season.

CDS prepares the officers and staff noncommissioned officers for marching on a parade staff.

The three week course teaches the fundamentals of marching, sword manual, voice commands and uniform preparation.

At the end of the course, the students perform an evaluation that is similar to a parade sequence. The evaluation is performed on the parade deck.

“Everyone at the Barracks comes to watch the CDS evaluation,” says Gunnery Sgt. Cedric Smith, the Barracks Drill Master. “So the CDS students are under a lot pressure.”

The Ceremonial Drill School is crucial in training the staff that marches in parades. Without the parade staff executing perfect drill commands, the ceremonial mission of the Barracks cannot be met.