The Drill Pad
Command Voice
Marine/Navy Drill


(1) Good posture, proper breathing, and the correct use of throat and mouth
muscles help develop a commander's voice. If commands are properly given, they will
carry to all Marines in the unit. If a commander tries too hard, his neck muscles
might tighten. This will result in squeaky, jumbled, and indistinct commands, and
will later be the cause of hoarseness and sore throat.
(2) Projecting the voice enables one to be heard at maximum range without
undue strain. To project a command, a commander must focus his voice on the most
distant Marine. Good exercise for voice projection are:
(a) Yawning to get the feel of the open mouth and throat.
(b) Counting and saying the vowel sounds "oh" and "ah' in a full, firm
(c) Giving commands at a uniform cadence, prolonging each syllable.
(d) When practicing, stand erect, breathe properly, keep the mouth open
wide, and relax the throat.
(3) The diaphragm is the most important muscle in breathing. It is the large
horizontal muscle which separates the chest from the abdomen. It automatically
controls normal breathing, but must be developed to give commands properly. Deep
breathing exercises are one good method of developing the diaphragm. Another is to
take a deep breath, hold it, open the mouth, relax the throat muscles, and snap out a
series of fast "hats" or "huts." These sounds should be made by expelling short
puffs of air from the lungs. If properly done, you can feel the stomach muscles
tighten as the sounds are made.
(4) The throat, mouth, and nose act as amplifiers. They give fullness to and
help project the voice. In giving commands, the throat should be relaxed. The lower
jaw and lips should be loose. The mouth should be open wide and the vowel sounds (a,
e, i, o, u) should be prolonged. Consonants (letters othe than vowels) and word
endings should be cut and sharply cut off.
(5) The position of attention is the proper posture for giving commands (see
fig. 1-4). A commander's posture will be noticed by his Marines. If it is
unmilitary, his men are likely to copy it. Raising the hand to the mouth to aid in
projecting commands is not proper.
Figure 1-4.--Correct Posture for Giving Commands.
(6) Distinct commands inspire troops. Indistinct commands confuse them. All
commands can be given correctly without loss of effect or cadence. To give distinct
commands, you must emphasize enunciation; make full use of the tongue, lips, and
lower jaw; practice giving commands slowly, carefully, and in cadence; and then
increase the rate of delivery until the proper rhythm (120 beats per minute) is
reached and each syllable is distinct.
(7) Inflection is the rise and fall in pitch, the tone changes of the voice.
(a) Preparatory commands should be delivered with a rising inflection,
having begun near the level of the natural talking voice.
(b) A command of execution is given in a sharper and higher pitch than
the tone of the preparatory command's last syllable. A good command of execution has
no inflection. It must have snap. It should be delivered with sharp emphasis,
ending like the crack of a whip. If properly given, Marines will react to it in the
same manner.
(c) Commands such as FALL IN, in which the preparatory command and the
command of execution are combined, are delivered without inflection. They are given
in the uniform high pitch and loudness of a command of execution.