The Drill Pad
Army Drill

Drill Terminology

Alignment - The arrangement of several elements on the same line.

Base - The element on which a movement is planned or regulated.

Cadence - The uniform rhythm in which a movement is executed, or the number of steps or counts per minute at which a movement is executed. Drill movements are normally executed at the cadence of quick time or double time. Quick time is the cadence of 120 counts or steps per minute; double time is the cadence of 180 counts or steps per minute.

Ceremonies - Formations and movements in which a number of troops execute movements in unison and with precision just as in drill; however, their primary value is to render honors, preserve tradition, and stimulate esprit de corps.

Commander - Person in charge.

Cordon - A line of soldiers to honor a dignitary upon entering or exiting from a given place or vehicle.

Cover - Aligning oneself directly behind the man to one’s immediate front while maintaining correct distance.

Depth - The space from front to rear of a formation, including the front and rear element.

Directive - An oral order given by a commander to direct or cause a subordinate leader or lead element to take action.

Distance - The space between elements when the elements are one behind the other. Between units, it varies with the size of the formation; between individuals, it is an arm’s length to the front plus 6 inches, or about 36 inches, measured from the chest of one man to the back of the man immediately to his front.

Drill - Certain movements by which a unit (or individuals) is moved in a uniform manner from one formation to another, or from one place to another. Movements are executed in unison and with precision.

Element - An individual, squad, section, platoon, company, or larger unit forming as part of the next higher unit.

File - A column that has a front of one element.

Flank - The right or left side of any formation as observed by an element within that formation.

Formation - The arrangement of elements of a unit in a prescribed manner:

Line - A formation in which the elements are side by side or abreast of each other. In a platoon line, the members of each squad are abreast of each other with the squads one behind the other.

Column - A formation in which the elements are one behind the other. In a platoon column, the members of each squad are one behind the other, with the squads abreast of each other. To change a line formation to a column formation, the command is Right, FACE. To change a column formation to a line formation, the command is Left, FACE.

Front - The space from side to side of a formation, including the right and left elements.

Guide - The person responsible for maintaining the prescribed direction and rate of march.

Head - The leading element of a column.

Close - The lateral space between soldiers, measured from right to left by the soldier on the right placing the heel of his left hand on his hip, even with the top of the belt line, fingers and thumb joined and extended downward, with his elbow in line with the body and touching the arm of the soldier to his left.

Double - The lateral space between soldiers, measured from right to left by raising both arms shoulder high with the fingers extended and joined (palms down) so that fingertips are touching the fingertips of the soldiers to the right and to the left.

Normal - The lateral space between soldiers, measured from right to left by the soldier on the right holding his left arm shoulder high, fingers and thumb extended and joined, with the tip of his middle finger touching the right shoulder of the soldier to his left.

Post - The correct place for an officer or noncommissioned officer to stand in a prescribed formation.

Rank - A line that is one element in depth.

Re-form - A command to restore the previous element or formation (used only during drill instructions).

Step - The prescribed distance measured from one heel to the other heel of a marching soldier.
Acronyms, Abbreviations

NCO - noncommissioned officer.

NCOIC - noncommissioned officer in charge.

ROTC - Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

TOE - table of organization and equipment.

US - United States.

Flight/Platoon Drill