Drill and Ceremony has been an important part of the U.S. Army since Baron von Stueben introduced the practice at Valley Forge during the American Revolution. West Point’s Drill Team continues the tradition of disciplined and precise execution of close order drill. But what is it like to be a member? Find out here.
My name is Cadet Justin Taylor. I'm from Little Rock, Arkansas. I'm currently a Firstie here on the drill team. And this is kind of what we do every day.
I just fell in love with the team, the team dynamic. We go on a lot of cool trips. I love to compete. And, I love to perform at parades and special things in New York City and even like in different countries.
I think the most memorable performance I've ever had was in London, England. We were performing for the Sandhurst Military Academy. And so we actually spent our entire spring break in England running around London, having a blast, but also performing for a lot of the British government.
We always tried to put our best foot forward. We're always looking to represent the Academy at our very best. That's why you practice very hard every day. It's just something we take a lot of pride in.
You do learn a lot as a leader on this team. You start out just as a freshman, as a Plebe, learning the routine and learning how to take a lot of constructive criticism, because we want everyone on the team to be as good as possible. And then eventually, as you get higher up, you start kind of looking after the freshmen a little bit, keeping an eye on them, making sure their grades are OK, making sure they're actually learning performance.
And then now that I'm a Firstie in the higher up leadership position on the team, I've had to take a lot of responsibility and planning a lot of things for the team. The skills I've learned on the drill team will certainly help me once I graduate. The skills of leadership, people management, time organization, and just caring about the other people that are below you, that's something that will definitely translate directly into being an army officer, which is one of the prime reasons that I stayed on this team, because of the great leadership abilities that I've gained from it. It's just a great team dynamic, and we all get along really well. We're all really a close knit group.