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Pathfindersonline • View topic - Oblique vs. Half Right or Left

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Networking ideas for Pathfinder Ministry
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 8:15 am 
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I cannot find RIGHT or LEFT OBLIQUE in the manual at all, but from what I was taught it is the command given from ATTENTION. And from what I've read in the manual, HALF RIGHT or LEFT is given while marching. I heard someone do it in the reverse and just wanted to know which set was right. Please clarify.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 11:17 am 
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The NAD Pathfinder Drill Manual states, "To change the direction of march 45 degrees or 90 degrees when marching, the preparatory command COLUMN HALF RIGHT (LEFT) or COLUMN RIGHT (LEFT) is given as the foot in the desired direction strikes the ground, and the command of execution, MARCH, is given the next time the foot in the desired direction strikes the ground."

Often, as I learned the first time and as some conferences dictate, the reverse is done. It isn't all that uncommon to hear RIGHT (LEFT) OBLIQUE MARCH given as a command while marching. Taking in to account the quote above, HALF RIGHT (LEFT) FLANK/COLUMN commands are executed when you are already marching. Obliques are (Yes. I know they aren't listed in the NAD Manual.), executed from a standing position.

As a side note, I would like to note the following quote from the NAD Pathfinder Drill Manual: "The instructions given here are taken from the 1986 drill manual of the United States Army, yet modified so they fit the Pathfinder Club. No attempt is being made to make soldiers of the Pathfinders. There are merely the more familiar military courtesies and drills that the youth will enjoy."

If you don't find something in the North American Division Pathfinder Drill Manual, remember that it does not cover everything. For further questions, I would recomend that you consult the 1986 drill manual of the United States Army. Should you use anything from this manual, remember that it should fit pathfinders or be modified to fit pathfinders appropriately. Also, drill & marching has evolved over the years. You will very likely find differences between the above US Army drill manual and the curent US Army drill manual (ARMY FM3-21.5 Drill and Ceremony).

I hope that this has helped you.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 1:03 pm 
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Very much so. Thanks.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 7:50 pm 
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No problem. I am glad that I was able to help you out some.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:18 am 
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As noted, Drill varies quite a bit from conference to conferences; however, much is what Pathfinder staff know is passed on verbally from someone who has had military experience. In this case, the Army does not make a distinction between column movements from the halt or while marching. It is the same command (FM 3-21.5; para. 6-7, 2003). In fact, the word "oblique" does not appear at all in the 2003 release of the Army's Drill and Ceremonies manual. Oblique movements are primarily used in Marine Corps drill. They are used to change the line of march for a short distance but not the direction. In other words, for oblique movements (as far as Marine drill is concerned) each individual elements marches at 45 degrees to the left or right. (NAVMC 2691; para. 3012). Obliques come into play more frequently with Marine Drill because of the difference in the way they execute column movements.

I would suggest that all those who are teaching drill know the Pathfinder Drill manual like the back of their hand and be at least familiar with other branches' drill. If in doubt, refer to the 2003 release of FM 3-21.5. Just remember that much of what you hear passed verbally will not be technically correct in its original sense and has been changed over years of oral tradition.

Let me be clear, in saying that there is nothing wrong with changing our drill and passing it down orally, but that is where conflict arises from one command meaning two things. Just follow the drill manual and do research when in doubt. (this forum is a good place to to research too :)

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:41 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:28 pm 
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It is the newest release of the Army's Drill and Ceremonies manual. The 1986 release was used as the basis for our present Pathfinder Drill Manual. The prefix 'FM' followed by a number is the indexing system for the Army Manuals. The 1986 release was FM 22-5, while the newest release is FM 3-21.5. There is little difference that would be of interest to Pathfinders save for some wording and updated graphics. They are essentially the same; I still use my 1986 version. Hope that clears things up.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 12:34 pm 
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Though this might have already been hinted at/stated earlier, I would like all who read this clearly understand the following.

The General Conference is the highest level of the SDA Church. It sets the standard for the whole world. This includes Pathfinders. Regarding Drill & Marching, I have yet to see a set guideline from the GC. Because of this it falls upon each division to create and maintain a Drill & Marching Manual that best fits the needs of those within their jurisdiction. I don't know about other divisions, but the NAD does have a Drill & Marching Manual that it maintains. As stated in other posts, this was derived from the Unites States Army's "Drill and Ceremonies Manual" from 1986. If you want clarification that does not happen to be in the NAD Manual, please refer to above manual or us the current US Army's "Drill Manual." Although one might think that it would be just as easy to refer or take ideas from other military manuals other than that of the US Army, it is not beneficial to others involved. (For example, my conference DI was in the US Air Force. He has modified several things in our conference based on his military experience.) Using a different source for a reference will lead to confusion as to which way to do a certain command, etc.

Also, note that each union may adapt the above manual to fit its conferences needs. The same is true of each conference, which may adapt the unions manual variations to meet the needs of its clubs. These adaptations are not usually in written format, let alone published for distribution.

In closing, there will be differences in commands at the division, union, and conference levels. However, if you have doubt as to the authenticity of a command, please look through the Pathfinder Drill & Marching Manual (for your division, union, and/or conference) followed by the original document (military manual) that it was adapted from.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:00 pm 
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I have to ask why it is not beneficial to refer to the manuals used by other branches of the military when the Pathfinder manual is not adequate. I really did not see an example of where knowledge of other systems has caused undue conflict. I agree that each conference will have different ways of executing drill but the fact that the NAD has a drill manual is of little consequence. In my experience, The Pathfinder Drill Manual is outdated, inferior, and inadequate. Until a better version comes out, drill instructors, who wish to take their club or conference to a higher level of drill, will be forced to look elsewhere for resources. I cannot count the times when I have had a question about a technical aspect of drill that neither, the Pathfinder Manual, nor the Army Drill Manual could answer. While the Pathfinder Drill Manual is and should be the final word on Pathfinder drill, it is sophomoric to say that other manuals should not be used by drill instructors who need more than a glorified pamphlet to conduct their drill.

In my conference there is no set "conference" way to execute drill; we have always just used the Pathfinder Drill Manual. I would be very interested to hear some of the things that other conferences are doing that modifies the drill set in the Pathfinder drill manual. I do not advocate changing drill on a large scale based on personal experience, but I would still like to know what is done. And I am curious further to know that if there is an official NAD Drill Manual, why do some conferences feel the need to modify it?

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:45 am 
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The reason that I posted such above is because I have seen discord between conferences at union competitions for required moves. If you are only participating in "freestyle" events, then by all means, use all available resources. My last post was due to multiple experiences that have been because of different ways of doing the same move during competition that hurt certain teams.

I have been told by Elder Black, and I am sure everyone will join me in rejoicing over the revision and update of the NAD Pathfinder Drill & Marching Manual.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 7:26 pm 
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I got a sneak-peak of a draft of the new drill manual... looked pretty good!!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:14 pm 
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Lucky! I originally emailed James Black requesting permission to make a digital copy for distribution on the web along with the ability to add illustrations and further instruction in areas that were lacking.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:55 am 
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I can fully sympathize with the problems arising from competitions. To my knowledge, my conference does not participate in any Union level competitions. There are two problems when teams do not place as well as they could because of technicalities in the rules: 1. There was no accurate publishing of the SOP(Standard Operating Procedure). All reputable drill competitions have an extensive SOP that is published very much in advance and it would clearly state what is allowed in each category, how they will be judged, etc. 2. The instructor does not take the initiative to find out if what he is doing will fall in line with the rules of the competition. As a general rule, all instructors who teach movements that are not in the drill manual, should do the research necessary to determine if it is authorized. That's just part of your competition preparation. almost all of the problems I have encountered in my conference regarding drill arose from one of those issues.

I should point out that all of this falls apart when you do not have judges that are experts at drill. There was one case in my conference where judges did not know the rules of the competition or drill for that matter. Quite a few people were upset and even several years later, I think there are some hard feelings. I think most coordinators are not prepared to put in the time that it takes to run and execute a drill competition properly. It takes a massive amount of time and knowledge.

I will be looking forward to the update in the Pathfinder Drill manual and I am sure it will be a great improvement from what we have now. Still, I am hesitant to say that it will fix much. Although there are problems with the manual, they are compounded with a general lack of understanding which stems from mediocre practices among those who instruct drill. Until we elevate the practice of drill to a higher lever, we are going to be stuck here. The NAD Drill manual says nothing regarding how a drill instructor should be, It tells how to teach but nothing else. Here is an excerpt from the Marine Corps Drill Manual: "Training personnel in drill is an important duty. From the beginning of his career, each officer and noncommissioned officer should take pride in being considered an efficient drill instructor. If he knows the drill regulations and how to instruct, he will gain the respect and confidence of those he commands. a. In addition, a good drill instructor must: (1) Follow regulations strictly, as an example [those] under instruction. (2) Have energy, patience an spirit. (3) Have military neatness and bearing. (4) Watch [personnel] constantly, immediately correcting any mistakes noted." (para. 1.2) This is the difference; our instructors are lacking in the command presence required to elevate drill to the next level.

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