|Airmen participating in a Veterans Day parade in Tuscon. (USAF Photo)|
Stop looking at my computer room. That's different.
Seriously though, drill serves a valuable purpose in training. You learn to react immediately upon command and to be part of a team. When the sergeant says "left" and you go "right" (or as we used to say, "your other left") it's readily and easily apparent as to who "screwed the pooch."
Of course, there was a point in time where drill was essential. Moving the troops while under fire, trying to get them to the point where they were needed, where the fire of their single shot, smoothbore muskets would be effective, required drill. Guys all lined up and yes, even marching in step. Men in poorly drilled units were virtually useless once the battle started. They couldn't be easily moved, if at all, and would generally fall apart if attacked. Drill provided cohesion, the individuals in a unit learned to move as one upon command.
|The only things holding these men together as they advance under fire are their training and the ability and charisma of their officers. (Source)|
And of course, a well drilled unit looks good, damn good. It's amazing what marching in a sharp outfit will do for one's morale.
I enjoyed the few opportunities I had to drill while in the Air Force. After Basic Training the only place you'd normally see the troops marching were at the Non-Commissioned Officer schools. Yes, the Air Force had those. Stop smirking.
Drill was good for the troops for two reasons: team building and learning to respond instantly to command. If you were the one actually drilling the troops, you learned to give the commands crisply, precisely at the right moment, and with a certain amount of volume. After all, you wanted the entire flight (as we called a body of airmen when drilling) to respond all at the same time. If someone couldn't hear you, well let's just say it could get messy. Everybody going every which way. At the school's I was at (Yokota and Biloxi) we called that a "bomb burst." Like I said, messy and it looked bad,
In war, back in the day, a gap in the ranks led to all sorts of bad things...
The 42nd Regiment of Foot (The Black Watch) at the Battle of Quatre Bras. (Source)
|Sgt Ewart of the Scots Greys captures the Eagle of the 45e Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne at the Battle of Waterloo. (Source)|
People died, armies were defeated, empires fell.
Drill these days doesn't quite have the same importance as in the old days.
Still, it looks awesome. When done well...