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Drill and Ceremony Terminology


Element– This is an individual, squad, section, platoon, company, or larger unit formed as part of the next higher unit.

Formation– This is an arrangement of the unit’s elements in a prescribed manner such as a line formation, in which the elements are side-by-side, and column formation, in which the elements are one behind the other. In a platoon column, the members of each squad are one behind the other with the squads abreast.

Front– This is a space from one side to the other side of a formation, and includes the right and left elements.

Depth– This is a space from the front to the rear of a formation, including the front and rear elements.

Distance– This is the space between elements that are one behind the other. The distance between individuals is an arm’s length plus 6 inches, or approximately 36 inches, measured from the chest of one soldier to the back of the soldier immediately to his front.

Interval– This is the space between side-by-side elements.

Rank– This is a line that is only one element in depth.

File– This is a column that has a front of one element.

Guide– This is the person responsible for maintaining the prescribed direction and rate of march.

Post– This is the correct place for an officer or noncommissioned officer to stand in a prescribed formation.

Head– This is a column’s leading element.

Base– This is the element around which a movement is planned or regulated.

Cadence– This is a uniform rhythm or number of steps or counts per minute.

Quick Time– This is a cadence of 120 counts (steps per minute).

Double Time– This is a cadence of 180 counts (steps per minute).