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Usefulness of Modern Drill [Split from Paying Compliments]

gcclarke

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garb811 said:
Another take on the origin of the salute from The Met's website under their Misconceptions and Questions Relating to Armor:If you consider the salute to be anachronistic, I suppose you'd consider the entire idea of what we do for drill to be as well. After all, the entire point of drill was to train and execute tactical maneuvers on the battlefield, not for pomp and circumstance.

Personally that's my take. I think we'd be better if if we took all the time spent doing drill and did... literally anything else.
 

Haggis

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gcclarke said:
Personally that's my take. I think we'd be better if if we took all the time spent doing drill and did... literally anything else.
At the risk of taking this thread on a self-destructive tangent I will violently disagree.  Pomp and pageantry is but one end result of drill but not the reason for it.  Drill instills instant obedience to commands.  It instill instinctive reaction to specific stimulus.  This instant obedience and instinctive reaction can be translated into weapons handling, emergency procedures, and battle drills from the fire team to company level.  Drill is foundational training which saves time on technical training later on.  Drill also instills a sense of teamwork (sports teams drill as well), occasionally through shared hardship but more often through shared pride in a well executed series of movements.

I accept your take on it and will differ with you.  I see the value of drill every day.
 

SupersonicMax

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I haven't done drill proper since 2006 and I somehow manage to handle complex emergencies of a complex weapon system fairly well. It also happens outside the military.  No need for drill to make instill the desire to obey commands.  Good leadership normally achieves that.
 

Jarnhamar

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SupersonicMax said:
I haven't done drill proper since 2006 and I somehow manage to handle complex emergencies of a complex weapon system fairly well.

Would you say you go through a series of drills when there is an emergency in that complex weapon system?
 

Sub_Guy

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Jarnhamar said:
Would you say you go through a series of drills when there is an emergency in that complex weapon system?

Apples and oranges.  Marching around on the parade square and dealing with a weapons emergency on a CF-18 is vastly different. 

I don’t see first responders out marching around for hours on end and they seem to do just fine. 


 

mariomike

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Dolphin_Hunter said:
I don’t see first responders out marching around for hours on end and they seem to do just fine.

There was some at the academy.

But, there is a Ceremonial unit, and they practice regularly.
 

FSTO

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SupersonicMax said:
I haven't done drill proper since 2006 and I somehow manage to handle complex emergencies of a complex weapon system fairly well. It also happens outside the military.  No need for drill to make instill the desire to obey commands.  Good leadership normally achieves that.

You're in the Air Force, you wouldn't know drill if it came up and upgraded your hotel room from the presidential suite to the omnipotent palace!  ;D
 

Haggis

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SupersonicMax said:
I haven't done drill proper since 2006 and I somehow manage to handle complex emergencies of a complex weapon system fairly well. It also happens outside the military.  No need for drill to make instill the desire to obey commands.  Good leadership normally achieves that.

But you did do drill during the formative stages of your military career.  It would be disingenuous to think that this didn't condition you in some way to react instinctively to commands/stimuli which set the conditions for future success dealing with emergencies in ancient aircraft.

Good leadership will instill the desire to instantly obey commands.  So will bad leadership, through the fear of the consequences of not doing so.  However, neither will prepare you with the instinctive reactions needed for an immediate action (e.g. firearms stoppage, parachute malfunction).  Drill does that by building the neural pathways required for the learning of emergency procedures requiring instinctive and immediate reaction.
 

Lumber

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Haggis said:
But you did do drill during the formative stages of your military career.  It would be disingenuous to think that this didn't condition you in some way to react instinctively to commands/stimuli which set the conditions for future success dealing with emergencies in ancient aircraft.

I still get a kick when I'm at some kind of large seminar/presentation with both civilian and military attendees. Everyone is sitting in their seats talking to each other, getting to know each other, then the guest speaker shows up who happens to be a general officer, someone yells "ROOM" and all the military members, no matter how long they've been in for, all stop talking instantly, twist their bodies forward, and look straight ahead. The look of confusion on civilian faces is highly entertaining.  :nod:
 

mariomike

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Haggis said:
Drill does that by building the neural pathways required for the learning of emergency procedures requiring instinctive and immediate reaction.

That actually goes back to grade school when we practiced fire drills.

Lumber said:
I still get a kick when I'm at some kind of large seminar/presentation with both civilian and military attendees. Everyone is sitting in their seats talking to each other, getting to know each other, then the guest speaker shows up who happens to be a general officer, someone yells "ROOM" and all the military members, no matter how long they've been in for, all stop talking instantly, twist their bodies forward, and look straight ahead. The look of confusion on civilian faces is highly entertaining.  :nod:

It's also plain old-fashioned good manners to STFU when a teacher or whatever wants your attention.
 

Haggis

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mariomike said:
That actually goes back to grade school when we practiced fire drills.

True fire drills are predictable (i.e. Fire Prevention Week) and in many cases people are locked and loaded and ready to go.  When that alarm goes off unexpectedly is when people really need to react with alacrity.
 

Throwaway987

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What’s the overlap between responding to employment specific drills and generic drill? Should we shut down our flight simulators and have our pilots horse around on the parade square instead?

I’d argue that it’s the practice and repetition of employment specific drills that provides for employment specific benefits. Practicing parade drill is, at best, an extremely inefficient way of honing useful emergency responses. The response to “room” reflects the repetition of this command in other conference room environments versus a generalized ability to respond to employment specific drills.
 

Furniture

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Haggis said:
But you did do drill during the formative stages of your military career.  It would be disingenuous to think that this didn't condition you in some way to react instinctively to commands/stimuli which set the conditions for future success dealing with emergencies in ancient aircraft.

Good leadership will instill the desire to instantly obey commands.  So will bad leadership, through the fear of the consequences of not doing so.  However, neither will prepare you with the instinctive reactions needed for an immediate action (e.g. firearms stoppage, parachute malfunction).  Drill does that by building the neural pathways required for the learning of emergency procedures requiring instinctive and immediate reaction.

That's a rather weak connection, what makes people react to stoppages, "bong bongs", etc. is training to conduct the drills themselves. I don't know how to conduct IAs because I can do a right turn on the march, I know how to do my IAs because I have been trained repeatedly throughout my career to do them. There are many civilian shooters know their IAs better than military most members, and have never been "marching up and down the square".

In reality I think drill is still taught/emphasised for two reasons 1) It is the easiest way to show a unit's development as a team, and their discipline. (drill requires discipline, but isn't the only way to teach/enforce it) 2) It's very low cost training, and has always been done. This ties back into the first point, because the cost is so low to conduct drill it will pretty much always be the CAF's favoured way to teach/enforce discipline. 
 

Haggis

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Furniture said:
That's a rather weak connection, what makes people react to stoppages, "bong bongs", etc. is training to conduct the drills themselves. I don't know how to conduct IAs because I can do a right turn on the march, I know how to do my IAs because I have been trained repeatedly throughout my career to do them. There are many civilian shooters know their IAs better than military most members, and have never been "marching up and down the square".

Agreed, to a point.  Parade square drill is operant conditioning of a specific type.  The principles of this conditioning are transferable to other procedures. 

Furniture said:
In reality I think drill is still taught/emphasised for two reasons 1) It is the easiest way to show a unit's development as a team, and their discipline. (drill requires discipline, but isn't the only way to teach/enforce it) 2) It's very low cost training, and has always been done. This ties back into the first point, because the cost is so low to conduct drill it will pretty much always be the CAF's favoured way to teach/enforce discipline. 
  You are spot in in this assessment but there are other reasons for drill.  The public and our allies will judge us on our professionalism, in part, on how we perform ceremonial activities.  If a unit looks like a bag of hammers on Warrior's Day (for example), it will be expected to perform in a like fashion.  I point to the commentary on the Lorne Scots recent "marching contingent" in Toronto as a perfect example of public perceptions not matching operational reality.  Setting aside the reason why they did what they did, they may be an excellent unit but certainly didn't portray that well during the event.
 

Throwaway987

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How many CAF members actually need to be proficient in drill and is it worth the opportunity cost? Can we just have a ceremonial unit or even just have hired actors to fulfil this illusion of professionalism?

I work in a non-combat arms trade and I can’t see the value of drill for knowledge workers. Even any improvement in conditioned responses pales in comparison to the value of individual cognitive ability, decision-making, and resourcefulness. If time and energy is required to become good at drill, this comes at the expense of productivity at our actual jobs.  Aircraft maintainers and other professional trades are struggling with manpower shortages and increasing backlogs of work.  Yes, we can order people to perform drill but should we? Who’s paying for the hundreds and thousands of dollars per hour of labour? What’s balance between CAF ceremonial duties and our primary occupations?

There’s a lot of talk about work-life balance and burnout these days but also a lot of wasted time. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
 

mariomike

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Haggis said:
When that alarm goes off unexpectedly is when people really need to react with alacrity.

"Brisk and cheerful readiness." 

We were brisk and ready, when the alarm ( Bells. Later heart-saving, automated voice, ramp-up tones and flashing LED lights ) went off unexpectedly.

Not always cheerful. You should have heard the swearing. :)

Doors up. Wheels rolling in 60 - 90 seconds. Robotic. Wasn't much to think about. Didn't think about much during the drive either. 

Can't say if parade square drill helped me much as an MSE Op. Maybe it did. Perhaps just didn't realise it.

Having said that, I enjoyed drill as much as the next guy.
 

QV

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I think drill has a place in basic training.  Having served in the RCR, I don't recall it was excess drill that took away from more important training.  To be sure there was a lot of wasted time, but I don't recall drill being the culprit.       
 

Old Sweat

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Strange as it may seem, when I was a young NCM and then a junior officer, the Canadian Army used a unit's standard of turn out and drill as an indication of its operational readiness.* I don't know how many times I heard senior officers state emphatically that they were opposed to operational evaluations and the like. This was, I am pretty sure, one of the traits we inherited from the Brits, and we probably kept it long after they had moved on.

In the early-to-mid sixties in 3 CIBG in Gagetown, the GOC Eastern Command took to inspecting units with their kit and equipment in tactical groupings on the parade square and later in the field. This still was a formal inspection and not an evaluation of operational readiness, but it was a step up from square bashing. Drill was still seen as a pretty good indication of efficiency and effectiveness.


* During the Second World War this was very machine in use. When the organization of the armoured division changed midway during the war, the retention of several armoured regiments on the order-of-battle was determined by formal parades and inspections.
 

Eye In The Sky

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Throwaway987 said:
How many CAF members actually need to be proficient in drill and is it worth the opportunity cost? Can we just have a ceremonial unit or even just have hired actors to fulfil this illusion of professionalism?

I work in a non-combat arms trade and I can’t see the value of drill for knowledge workers. Even any improvement in conditioned responses pales in comparison to the value of individual cognitive ability, decision-making, and resourcefulness. If time and energy is required to become good at drill, this comes at the expense of productivity at our actual jobs.  are struggling with manpower shortages and increasing backlogs of work.  Yes, we can order people to perform drill but should we? Who’s paying for the hundreds and thousands of dollars per hour of labour? What’s balance between CAF ceremonial duties and our primary occupations?
Aircraft maintainers and other professional trades
There’s a lot of talk about work-life balance and burnout these days but also a lot of wasted time. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Question;  what do you consider "professional trades" exactly?  If someone isn't combat arms, they should not have to require basic foot/weapons drill knowledge and be able to parade?  Combat arms folks aren't "knowledge workers"? 

I find the people who say things, and belief things like that, are the ones who've never been combat arms and have no clue how hard the job actually is, and how intelligent some of the people doing that work really are.  I've seen an ATIS Tech who was 'technically smart' with a box or system, but wouldn't be nearly intelligent, capable and resilient enough to handle a hard military trade.  :2c:

Drill/parades is part of being in a uniform, full stop.  If you want to 'be on parade' but not march, remuster to aircrew and be on the flypast.  ;D

FWIW...I've done more 'parades' on CJOC deployments than I have on my Wing/Sqn over the last 5-6 years... :eek:rly:
 

Bzzliteyr

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Eye In The Sky said:
Question;  what do you consider "professional trades" exactly?  If someone isn't combat arms, they should not have to require basic foot/weapons drill knowledge and be able to parade?  Combat arms folks aren't "knowledge workers"? 

I find the people who say things, and belief things like that, are the ones who've never been combat arms and have no clue how hard the job actually is, and how intelligent some of the people doing that work really are.  I've seen an ATIS Tech who was 'technically smart' with a box or system, but wouldn't be nearly intelligent, capable and resilient enough to handle a hard military trade.  :2c:

Drill/parades is part of being in a uniform, full stop.  If you want to 'be on parade' but not march, remuster to aircrew and be on the flypast.  ;D

FWIW...I've done more 'parades' on CJOC deployments than I have on my Wing/Sqn over the last 5-6 years... :eek:rly:

Soldiering in itself is a profession.
 
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