Why Drill?

Every minute of every day, groups of people somewhere are forming certain ordered movements which are collectively known as military drill. They are not drilling for their health -- drill has very little exercise value; nor are they part of an enormous plan to keep military personnel employed until needed for warfare. The purpose of drill is, according to the "book," to provide an orderly means of moving large bodies of people quickly.

But drill is more then a device for moving people -- when properly executed, drill is a psychological stimulant for those involved. More simply, drill encourages personal pride which, when multiplied by the number participating, equals pride in the unit; a spirit of teamwork is cultivated as people join in such orderly and uniform activities; and military personnel learn in this way to respond immediately and precisely to orders given by their superiors -- a lesson which has saved countless lives under combat conditions. The latter fact seems to be the most important effect, yet it is least obvious to the person enduring drill. Why? Because no one likes to take orders. To circumvent this natural attitude, a modified conditioned reflex is built up within those drilling. They learn to subjugate their wills to those of their superiors who are in a better position to judge which course of action should be taken.

Everyone in the military has a superior, and it is said that before one can give orders, one must take them. Drill is the traditional and as yet unsurpassed method of acclimating people to the military life, and of teaching them how to make a success of it. No matter how technologically advanced military science becomes, drill is here to stay.

MEC 2014

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