By Mr. Mark Manicone (Fort Jackson)July 31, 2017
Soldiers with the 369th Adjutant General Battalion gathered outside on a hot and muggy Saturday morning to compete in their quarterly drill and ceremony event.
Bravo, Charlie and Delta companies marched proudly down Sumter Avenue toward the drill area.
But this isn't your run-of-the-mill quarterly battalion event. This is the first time this event has been
held in years. What used to be a 369th AG Battalion tradition went dark for some time, until Sgt. Maj. Bernadette Phillips revived it.
"I think Soldiers like stuff that is outside the box," Phillips said. "And it's really getting back to
old army traditions at its core."
Phillips has been with the 369th AG Battalion for only one year and has already made a lasting
impression upon the unit. She is the person responsible for logistically making the event possible, and the person making sure that it is a success with Soldiers of the 369th.
"The nice thing about bringing in new leadership is that we regain some of those traditions lost," said Lt. Col. Joel Holmstrom, commander of the 369th AG Battalion. "This is a chance for Soldiers to blow off some steam and to work on camaraderie."
The event hits two birds with one stone. It gives Soldiers a break from the mundane repetitiveness of basic training, and allows them to branch out within their roles as Soldiers. But it still reinforces the values instilled during Basic Combat Training.
"The goal is to promote team building and pride of your battalion," Phillips said.
To accomplish this mission, the drill and ceremony has two phases of competition. The first is
where companies compete in drill, and the second is where they compete in pugil stick fighting. The
best companies will be rewarded with streamers to represent their accomplishment.
Holmstrom and Phillips aren't the only ones excited that this old tradition has been brought back to
life. The Soldiers' reception has been widely positive.
"It's very exciting, and a great morale builder for Soldiers," said Pvt. Sean Newboar from Charlie
Six sets of bleachers surrounded the drill area, so that Soldiers could watch and cheer on their
company. In the back of the parking lot, three food vendors had set-up shop to serve everything from the classic American cheeseburger and fries, to funnel cakes and shaved ice.
Multiple arm immersion cooling tanks and water coolers were placed around the rear of the bleachers
so that Soldiers could stay hydrated and keep cool.
While team building in an important facet of this event, it is important to remember that this is still
a competition. And the Soldiers of Bravo, Charlie and Delta Companies came ready to bring their "A
game" to their competitors.
"I feel confident about competing" said Pvt. Devon Gallos from Charlie Company. "We practiced
for at least three hours outside."
At the end of the day, the revival of this tradition ushers in the possibility of having good, clean fun
while still reinforcing the tenets of what it means to be Army Strong. "It feels good to be doing something different for a change," Gallos said.