Story by Staff Sgt. Terrance D. Rhodes
FORT MYER, Va. – On a sunny warm day in front of a crowd of hundreds, the U.S. Army Drill Team from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), and teams from the other military services, came together to perform during the 2017 Joint Service Drill Exhibition April 8, at the Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C.
The exhibition showcased all five military services drill teams at one place, which is a rare feat in itself.
Preparation for such a major event takes long hours and many repetitive rehearsals, something that’s not new to The Old Guard.
“Leading up to the drill exhibition, we spent three weeks down at Fort Benning, Ga., training and working on a new routine,” said Sgt. Wilfriedo Diaz, team leader with the drill team. “At the end of training we got nothing but positive feedback.”
That positive feedback was on display this past weekend.
“We try to prove to the civilians and the other branches of service drill teams that we are the best and we lead from the front,” added Diaz.
In the past, this exhibition was once a competition to showcase each of the branches drill team, but after the Army continued to win year after year, the powers that be changed the event into an exhibition, said the New York native.
There were a few minor setbacks from all the services drill teams during this year’s performance due to the wind and temperature.
Regardless of the setbacks, the drill teams were persistent and continue to execute each movement with precision and accuracy.
“No matter what happens we continue to try to perfect each move,” said Spc. Eric Neeley, a thrower for the drill team. “There were a few mistakes but I think we did a great job anyway.”
The Soldiers appreciated the cheers and the teams were fueled by the cheers from the crowd.
“We love the fans,” said Neeley. “It’s just really great to see everyone here to support all of the armed services, but especially the Army.”
The U.S Army Drill Team will perform as part of Twilight Tattoo this summer and Spirit of America later in the fall.