The U.S. Army Drill Team (USADT) is a precision drill platoon with the primary mission of showcasing the U.S. Army both nationally and internationally through breathtaking routines with bayonet-tipped 1903 Springfield rifles. The USADT has performed for military, government, non-profit, and civilian organizations for more than 50 years.
Recently, the first ever female officer served as the commander for the USADT, Capt. Lauran D. Glover.
This is a period of transition for Glover, this fall she is set to begin a doctoral program in clinical psychology at the American School of Professional Psychology in D.C.
Becoming a Psychologist that helps service members has been her goal since joining the Army. Glover said her motivation for joining was to have a shared experiences with members of the military that could help her gain insight.
Glover joined the U.S. Army after graduating from the University of Findlay in September 2011. She worked as a military police platoon leader before becoming the drill commander.
Initially Glover ruled out any chance of joining the USADT because she did not fit the typical mode of the team’s leadership. Traditionally, the Commander was a male infantry officer.
A previous USADT platoon sergeant told Glover to look into becoming the drill commander, a position no woman has ever held. After some apprehension, she inquired about the position, and was selected for the opportunity in November 2014.
Her accomplishment has left her feeling like anything is possible, said Glover.
“To me, it means I shouldn’t limit myself,” said Glover. “Hopefully everyone see that as well, not just women, or Military Police Officers. Don’t limit yourself.”
Glover describes her assignment as Commander as “rewarding, but difficult”.
When first taking command, Glover said the attention of the new position made her feel isolated.
“I felt like I was under a microscope,” said Glover. “It didn’t feel like I had much support, initially.”
The resistance, however, to a woman becoming the leader of the USADT was mainly from people outside of the U.S. Army.
“But when you think about it and put the criticism into perspective, who’s opinion do I really care about?” said Glover. “I have got to do a job, and as long as my Soldiers are taken care of, and they have what they need, I don’t really have a problem with people outside of my organization have to say.”
Internally, there were no signs of the Soldiers taking issue with Glover’s gender or MOS.
Challenges that faced Glover initially were reconciling the various needs of the team members and understanding the different nuances of the team, she said.
Members of the USADT have a variety of military occupational specialties (MOS) which require individualized training to give those members an opportunity to be the best at their MOS, said Glover.
“You have the outreach aspect, you have the drilling aspect, you have the training, basic Soldiering skills aspect,” said Glover. “There are a lot different things that go into making the team successful.”
Glover persevered and she hopes to have helped in the advancement of the team.
Through their daring and complex performances, the U.S. Army Drill Team acts as “good-will ambassadors” for the Army, supporting community relations and recruiting efforts on behalf of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and the U.S. Army.
Many of these opportunities become available through networking. Glover reached out to the Columbus Crew, a Major League Soccer Team, for example. After performing once for the MLS club, the Columbus Crew has asked the USADT to return, said Glover.
Cultivating relationships like this one has helped Glover to increase the reach of the USADT she hopes it will help to continually grow, she said.
In terms of being a role model, Glover said she understands that the USADT’s mission through outreach encourages all team members behave as such.
As often as USADT goes to a school, whether it be an elementary, middle or high school, or college or ROTC program, Glover said she expresses to the USADT they may be the only service members that people actually meet or talk to.
March is Women’s history month, and women that have inspired Glover to reach higher include her mother, a 28-year Air Force veteran.
Another female role model is Capt. Carmela Wooten, an intelligence officer Glover met when she was stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Wooten was one of the few other females stationed with Glover, and went out of her way to mentor and befriend her, said Glover.
Glover’s advice for the next drill commander is simple: understand the needs of the Soldiers, don’t be afraid to take advice from past members, and put your own initiatives and vision forward to better the team and their situation.
“It has great being a member of the team,” said Glover. ‘But always try to make it better.”
She wishes nothing but continued success for the drill team, and will miss seeing the team members grow and meet their full potential.
“I think the sky’s the limit,” said Glover. “They are very talented and capable individuals.”