| Marine/Navy Drill Terminology
Element. An individual, squad, section, platoon, company, or other unit which is part of a larger unit.
Formation. Arrangement of elements of a unit in line, in column, or in any other prescribed manner.
Line. A formation in which the elements are side by side or abreast of each other. A section or platoon is in line when its squads are in line and one behind the other.
Rank. A line of Marines or vehicles placed side by side.
Column. A formation in which elements are placed one behind the other. A section or platoon is in column when members of each squad are one behind the other with the squads abreast of each other.
File. A single column of Marines or vehicles one behind the other.
Flank. The right or left extremity of a unit, either in line or in
Depth. The space from head to rear of an element or a formation. The depth of a man is considered to be 12 inches.
Front. The space occupied by an element or a formation, measured from one flank to the other. The front of a man is considered to be 22 inches.
Distance. Space between elements in the direction of depth. Between individuals, the space between your chest and the person to your front. Between vehicles, the space between the front end of a vehicle and the rear of the vehicle to its front. Between troops in formation (either on foot, mounted, or in vehicles), the space from the front of the rear unit to the rear of the unit in front. Platoon commanders, guides, and others whose positions in a formation are 40 inches from a rank are, themselves, considered a rank. otherwise, commanders and those with them are not considered in measuring distance between units. The color guard is not considered in measuring distance between subdivisions of the unit with which it is posted. In troop formations, the distance between ranks is 40 inches.
Interval. The lateral space between elements on one same line. Interval is measure between individuals from shoulder to shoulder and between vehicles from hub to hub or track to track. It is measured between elements other than individuals and between formations from flank to flank. Unit commanders and those with them are not considered in measuring interval between elements of the unit. Normal interval between individuals is one arm's length. Close interval is the horizontal distance between shoulder and elbow when the left hand is placed on the left hip.
Alignment. The dressing of several elements on a straight line.
Base. The element on which a movement is regulated.
Guide. The individual (base) upon whom a formation, or other elements thereof, regulates its march. To guide: to regulate interval, direction, or alignment; to regulate cadence on a base file (right, left, or center).
Point of Rest. The point toward which all elements of a unit establish their dress or alignment.
Center. The middle element of a formation with an odd number of elements or the left center element of a formation with an even number of elements.
Head. The leading element of a column.
Pace. The length of a full step in quick time, 30
Step. The distance from heel to heel between the feet of a marching man. The half step and back step are 15 inches. The right and left steps are 12 inches. The steps in quick and double time are 30 and 36 inches, respectively.
Cadence. A rhythmic rate of march at a uniform step.
Quick Time. Cadence at 120 steps (12, 15, or 30 inches in length) per minute. It is the normal cadence for drills and ceremonies.
Double Time. Cadence at 180 steps (36 inches in length) per minute.
Slow Time. Cadence at 60 steps per minute. Used for funerals only.
Left (Right). Extreme left (right) element or edge of a body of troops.
Mass Formation. The formation of a company or larger unit in which the major elements are in column at close interval an abreast at close interval.
Extended Mass Formation. The formation of a company or larger unit in which the major elements are in column at close or normal interval and abreast at a specified interval greater than normal interval.
Piece. An individual firearm such as a rifle.
Snap. In commands or signals, the quality that inspires immediate response. In drill, the immediate and smart execution of a movement.