Program modifies building blocks of The Old Guard
June 8, 2011
New Soldiers arriving to the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) will soon experience new changes in the regiment’s Reception Indoctrination Program, a three week course designed to get Soldiers accustomed to rifle movements known as manual and ceremonial marching styles unique to The Old Guard, the Army’s premiere ceremonial unit.
The Regimental Orientation Program, formally known as RIP, places more emphasis on Soldiers’ abilities to master the technique of rifle manual, marching sequences and the importance of physical fitness as it coincides with ceremonial endurance.
“The students learn a lot more manual in week one now than they did in the previous program,” said Staff Sgt. Enes Memic, ROP noncommissioned officer in charge.
Memic continued to say the new program shifted more toward rifle movements and ceremonial marching and less uniform preparation to better prepare ROP students for the fast paced missions of The Old Guard.
“Manual is the hardest thing to pick up,” said Sgt. Will Greehling, ROP week two NCOIC. “Having more time with it makes it look a lot better in the end.
The new program also focuses on the physical fitness of the students as Old Guard Soldiers are expected to stand long amounts of time and push through grueling temperature conditions and exhaustion during ceremonies.
“Doing PT (physical training) with the Soldiers now is outrageously an amazing idea,” said Sgt. Dustin Bryant, ROP week three NCOIC. “You have to be in good PT shape to march all day. Also, standing in ceremonies takes more than just the ability to be still. It takes endurance and leg strength. Students have to learn to still be able to do the job even when they are fatigued.”
Although it may seem the new program enforces a tougher standard, students will benefit from a new grading allowing students to maintain no lower than an 80 percent per test to be within regimental compliance. Prior to the change, students were allowed to only have three deficiencies or gigs per test to pass. Gigs range from misplacements of ribbons and wrinkles on uniforms, to the misplacement of a hand on the rifle during movements.
“Why would we go off a three gig system?” asked Sgt. First Class John Diggles, regimental operations ceremonial NCOIC, and the driving force behind the change of RIP. “I know that you can’t grade anyone on a three gig system. I can find three gigs on anyone. I’m going to go out with a grade sheet and do an honest assessment and be realistic.”
Diggles concept of train as you fight adds to the importance of why Soldiers of The Old Guard must maintain the integrity of manual and marching. Soldiers are not only expected to perform numerous ceremonies, but also maintain the dignity of the somber yet most important mission of The Old Guard, remembering the fallen.
“My brothers and sisters who are fallen deserve the best for their last mission,” said Diggles