By Sgt. Luisito BrooksMay 3, 2012
WASHINGTON (May 4, 2012) -- When he was asked to join a drill team to compete on one of America's top talent shows, there was no question that he was ready and willing.
"I was really excited about the chance to go on America's Got Talent (AGT) this year and show what we got. I am always looking for opportunities to compete in drill because this is something I love," said Spc. Andres Ryan, who has been drilling for the last eight years. "I have seen AGT on TV and I hope with our team, we can make it really far in the competition."
The team New Guard America is led by Constantine Wilson, the founder of the team and a professional drill instructor, and is made up of drillers who have traveled from around the country with the one goal of competing in the show.
"Our team is so unique. We have everything from a high school student to Soldiers in the Army," said Ryan, a U.S. Army Drill Team (USADT) soloist, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). "As a matter of fact, after I joined this team, I dragged one of my friends Humphrey also."
Spc. Shane Humphrey, Alpha Company, 3d U.S. Inf. Reg. (The Old Guard), who has been drilling for the last six years, is excited about going on television, but the most challenging thing for him will be standing just a few feet from Howie, Sharon and Howard.
"Howard Stern seems like he will give us the most trouble out of all of the judges," he said. "I hope I am wrong though."
He added that they hope to do great under the pressure and represent the team, community and his unit.
Ryan said how proud his family is of him for not only serving in the military, but also for pursing a passion he has loved since high school.
"My wife, friends and family are very proud of what we are doing," he said. "I am glad because we are going to need all the support we can get to make it far in this competition," said jokingly.
The team, along with thousands of other acts competing to win AGT, will have about a minute to impress the judges, so the importance of warming up and rehearsing almost goes without saying.
Just to get ready for a rehearsal, Ryan would toss a rifle twirling four feet above his head before catching it in his outstretched hands repeatedly.
"This is how I like to warm up sometimes," said Ryan, while adjusting his grip on the black rifle. "Every driller has their way of warming up for any event."
Many hours are spent training physically, mentally and emotionally for this competition, but for Ryan, it's never a chore.
"Drilling isn't just something I like to do, but it is something that I love to do," said Ryan, while preparing for a full dress rehearsal. "I have performed at many events around the world with the USADT, and when you are doing something you love all the time, it makes life great."
He added that he wants everyone to watch and support Soldiers from The Old Guard compete on team New Guard America this season of AGT.