• Ground Staff
  • Order Staff
  • Right Shoulder Staff
Drilling with patrol staffs is one of the many military traditions that has been continued through the troop. Each patrol keeps their own set of staffs for competition with the other patrols. Traditionally staff drilling only occurred at Troop Meetings and other gatherings to determine the most skilled patrol, the winners of the 316th Infantry Award. Since the 96th Birthday, however, drilling has been added as a Birthday competition to provide a better venue to show the skill of the scouts and to also add more diversity to the events of the Birthday.

Drilling Games/RoundsEdit

Training - There is no judging or tricks in this round. In many cases the staff member giving the commands and possibly other staff members will be standing in front of the formation demonstrating the drilling movements.

Standard - This is the style used at the Birthday Competition. Staff members provide no aid to the competitors and the scouts are usually judged. If there is judging, points are deducted for each incorrect movement. Each patrol's score is the sum of the points off for all of its members. A low score is thus better. The scout giving commands will sometimes give difficult orders for the scouts to follow in this round.

Gray's Old Lady - Sometimes called 'Granny's Old Lady' or 'Grady's Old Lady' after so many years of oral tradition, Gray's Old Lady is basically Simon Says with staff drilling. Grays Old Lady is also an elimination game. The scout giving commands must say "Gray's Old Lady says..." before each command, no matter how small or trivial the command. Scouts are required to stay absolutely still when not preforming a command. Thus any scout who moves for a command that "Gray's Old Lady" did not say is out. Just plain incorrect movements will also result in elimination.

Lightning Round - A modifier for both Gray's Old Lady and Standard drilling, the lightning round simply means that commands will come faster and scouts will be expected to respond to them just as fast. Delayed responses will be counted as incorrect staff movements.


By the Numbers - Though seemingly unimportant, by the numbers affects every single other staff position and thus must come first. By the numbers means that the commander must say a number for each movement in that command. The number one is always assumed (e.g. "Right Shoulder Staff!" One is assumed so the scout reaches across his chest and grabs the staff with his left hand. "Two!" The scout pulls his left arm back. The staff is now at 'Port.' "Three!" The scout moves his arm so his left hand is holding the staff and is resting on his right shoulder. His right elbow is bent at a 90 degree angle. "Four!" The scout releases the staff with his left hand and places his left arm back by his side). Different commands can be longer or shorter and thus may have more or less numbers than other commands. It is important to remember that after 'by the numbers' is said once, it is in effect for all subsequent commands until the command for parade rest is given. The commander may continue to say by the numbers for emphasis or to remind the scouts but it is not necessary. When not in by the numbers, the movements are identical but the scout will simply move through each stage in rapid succession.

Order Staff/Attention - The position that all drilling competitions start in. This command is not much changed from the basic command for attention. The scout's hands are at his side, his heels are together, toes are apart, and he is looking directly ahead. The staff is vertical at his right side and he is holding it with his right hand. The movements to return to Order Staff are the exact reverse of the movements needed to reach the starting position from order.

Parade Rest - The Scout steps out to the side with his left foot shoulder length from his right and his left hand is placed behind his back on his belt. He fully extends his arm so the staff is out to the side and pointing slightly forward. Parade rest cancels 'by the numbers'. It is a one number movement and can only be done from Order Staff.

Right Shoulder Staff - This is a four number movement. One, the scout reaches across his chest and grabs the staff with his left hand. Two, the scout pulls his left arm back. The staff is now at 'Port.' Three, the scout moves his arm so his left hand is holding the staff and is resting on his right shoulder. His right elbow is bent at a 90 degree angle also holding the staff. Four, the scout releases his left hand and places his left arm back by his side.

Left Shoulder Staff - Also a four number movement . One, the scout reaches across his chest and grabs the staff with his left hand. Two, the scout pulls his left arm back. The staff is now at 'Port.' Three, the scout moves his arms so his left hand is holding the staff and is resting on his right shoulder. His right hand is holding the lower end of the staff at around waist level, the arm having crossed the body to the left. Four, the scout releases the staff with his right hand and places his right arm back by his side. The left hand slides down the staff to form a 90 degree angle at the elbow.

Port Staff - An in between stage on the way to one of the shoulders, port can be used as a command in and of it self. The commands are identical to the first two steps in both Right and Left Shoulder Staff. To get from Right Shoulder to Left Shoulder, the staff must be first brought through Port thus making the movement the first two movements in getting from the starting shoulder to Order Staff and then the last two movements in getting from Order Staff to the other shoulders.

Just like Parade Rest, the following six commands can only be done from the position of Attention/Order Staff. All of these commands have the same first step and once given these commands the only following command (other than facing movements or retrieving the staff already on the ground) can be Order Staff/Attention.

Present Staff - One, the scout grabs the staff just as he would before going into Port Staff. Two, he brings the staff directly in front of his body. His arms should be completely horizontal with his left hand holding the staff around nose level and his right hand holding the staff around his belt. Present Staff is a two number movement.

Pickett Staff - Very similar to Present Staff. One the second movement, the scout extends his arms in front of him as far as possible instead of pulling the staff in as close to his body as possible. This is also a two number movement.

Trail Staff - On the second movement, the scout pulls the staff to angle forward by 45 degrees. Three, the left hand is released and returns to the side.

Secure Staff - Instead of being brought down only 45 degrees, the staff is brought down 90 degrees forward to be completely parallel with the ground on the second movement.

Ground Staff - (Disputed form regarding which foot to step forward with.) The scout steps forward with his right foot, places his free left hand on his back at belt level, and bends forward down to the ground and places the staff on the ground (but does not release it). Two, he releases the staff and stands back up at attention, leaving the staff on the ground. Retrieve Staff is the opposite of this command.

Facing Movements- Typically done will the staff is on the ground. Preformed exactly like they are outside of competition.

Right and Left Face - One, up on the toes. Two, turn. Three, down.

About Face - One, plant the right foot behind the left. Two, spin and stop with feet together.

Extended Intervals - Due to the space required for staff drilling, Close Intervals is not used. For "Extended Intervals Dress Right, Dress" all scouts fully extend their left arm to the side and space themselves so they are just touching the right shoulder of the scout to their left. All scouts also snap their heads right at this command and keep it facing right. The scout at the far right of the formation looks straight ahead while the scout at the far left turns his head but does not extend his arm. If it is "Dress Left" then it is reversed with the scouts looking left and their right arms going up.

Extended Intervals is canceled by the command 'Front" or 'Count Off'. For 'Front' all scouts drop their arms and look forward in unison. For 'Count Off' starting at the left end and moving right, the scouts say their respective number. After saying their number they drop their arm and look forward thus signaling the next scout to say his number.

More on facing movements, spacing, and other standard commands can be found here.

Tricks and Staff FunEdit

'By the numbers' discomfort - Certain positions such as the first step of Ground Staff can be very straining is held continuously. When in by the numbers, the staff member giving commands may keep the scouts in step 1 for a prolonged period of time.

'By the numbers' Grays Old Lady - Calling the numbers in 'by the numbers' without saying 'Gray's Old Lady.' Scouts are more likely to fall for this especially if combined with 'by the numbers' discomfort in which the scouts want to get out of an uncomfortable position as soon as possible.

Switching command - Staff members will transfer command to other staff members. Sometimes legitimately and in Gray's Old Lady illegitimately to confuse the scouts.

Counting off/Changing spacing - Sometimes it is done in a casual non-commanding voice to act to extend the deception.

Individuals orders - Sometimes orders may be given to individual participants or to certain groups of scouts. Thus not everyone is moving uniformly even when following commands correctly.

Impossible Commands - Ordering a command like Right Shoulder Staff when in a position like Present Staff which can only move to Order. Also the commander sometimes orders a new command in the middle of a 'by the numbers' movement.

Secure Staff charges - In jest, scouts may be moved to face each other, Secure Staff, and then Forward March.

Present Staff - While the scout is still holding tightly to his staff, a staff member may also grab hold of the staff and slowly lower the scout backward until he is nearly touching the ground before pulling the scout back up. If done properly, the scout being lowered will remain perfectly straight the entire time.

Picket Staff - Once the scouts are placed in Picket Staff and then one or multiple staff members will run down the line striking each staff as the go past.