August 27, 2010
Concerning the Soldiers July magazine cover: Really' They saluted with the left hand back then' If this is just taking creative license, then I need to say, "Shame on you."
I'd be interested to know how many inquiries you get concerning this.
Retired Staff Sgt. Robert Grote
The Office of the Staff Judge Advocate
Fort Carson, Colo.
The Soldier pictured on the cover of the July issue of Soldiers is Master Sgt. Russell Smith, head drum major of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment "The Old Guard" Fife and Drum Corps.
The head drum major is distinguished from other members of the unit in two ways: He wears the light-infantry cap, rather than the tricorn hat worn by the other musicians, and carries an espontoon in his right hand (which differs from the large mace carried by most military drum majors).
The espontoon, which looks like a spear, is a weapon, and badge of office, that was carried by officers during the 18th century; today it is used by the head drum major of the Fife and Drum Corps to issue silent commands to the unit while they are performing.
The Fife and Drum Corps head drum major is the only member of the Army authorized to salute with his left hand.
For more information about the Fife and Drum Corps visit http://www.army.mil/fifeanddrum.