One of the most important enforcement of discipline and order is DRILL, many didn't like it, but it is one aspect of the military I admire, adore and loved with hard-line passion. Thousands of soldiers gather in one area or along the road and the command is obeyed. The obedience is deft and symbolic of adherence to unwavering loyalty by all.
I didn't know anything about drill or bothered about its essential importance until our drill instructors took us on the first step in NMS. During the cadre course in 1978, the first instruction was ATTENTION BY NUMBER, ATTENTION 1, then grammar from the drill instructors raising his knees high and boasting:
my knees parallel to my waist and I can remain like this to Kontagora without shaking, my face looking straight and my chest out! ANY QUESTION!
before you even think of asking, you immediately hear, NO QUESTION!
The drill instructor now issues same order to all at the same time and when not satisfied he screams AAJUUUWAAAYA! accompanied by curses, UBANKA! Of course, another mistake will earn you hunching aka frog-jump, this I found very strange. One confused or absent-minded person aka RUDEWAA makes a mistake and we are all punished collectively for a mistake committed by one, haba! why not single out the culprit and deal with him? No, you all are one, I tire for army. Of course the message sinks with a whisper, "Old boy no buy us job ooo!", the drill now gets better and better as each day passes.
The part I found extremely proud of is when we are about to end for the day:
on receive the word of command dismiss, turn to the right do not salute or salute - DISMISS!
a swerve to the right by all except the RUDEWAAs who mistakenly always swerve left, of course then the yell - AAJUUUWAAAYA! followed by more swear words from the drill instructor:
GEWA UBANKA KAMAN BLOM BLOM SHEGE!
your father's testicles is like a balloon, stupid!
The instructor continues, "Una no wan go bah, make another mistake and you will all go round the parade ground crawling!". A whisper is quickly battered on the RUDEWAAs to concentrate and not SPOIL OUR GARI, then the refreshing order, DISMISS! followed by precision swerve to the right and a BANG with the left foot ferociously, 3 steps and it's over for the day! You are dead WRONG, over for where? You instantly notice a split division into groups, rehearsing and practicing the drill lessons of the day, not by the instructors but by us. Well for me, I practiced but more of mimicking the instructors, and my mates will laugh and laugh. I could mimic anyone and it relaxed the atmosphere, for the next 30-45 minutes I foresaw upcoming drill wizards. Gradually we head back to the lines and the practice goes on and on, this continued until the arrival of senior boys, yes! they added music and rhythm to different types of drills.
One I just didn't like was the "DOUBLE MARK TIME, FEET UP, UP UP!" with a cane indicating the level for your knees to touch with hot eba trying to settle in your stomach, FORWARD! FORWARD! then crazily BACKWARDS! BACKWARDS! I don't understand, we are all moving forward, suddenly backwards then forward, of course the provost with different symmetrical voice, HIP CHUA, HIP CHUA, HIP CHUA, hands up, baggers!, as a chorus we all answer SIR! Then another provost or Garri Patcher begins the song that I also just don't like but must be chorused, MEYA KAWO KU? we respond, NMS! MEYA KAWO KU? NMS! Then another command breaks down the double mark time to QUICK MARK TIME! LEFT HAIN, LEFT CHUUA! all of a sudden, ABOUT TURN! we turn and the command is repeated, ABOUT TURN! and rhythm continues with the Garri Patcher, HIP CHUA! HIP CHUA!
However, the most fascinating is the Road March Drill with your rifle, a large crowd watch us as we match past with rifles and a powerful command is barked at us AS ONE by the commander, CHANGING ARMS, CHANGE ARMS! All at the same time slapping hard on our rifles. The drill continues and when an officer is seen or group of officers, EYES RIGHT! Then the commander then gives a blade salute to the officer, MORNING SIR! EYES FRONT, HIP CHUA, HIP CHUA!
Drill was the epitome of discipline and order, powerful and effective. During my time in NMS 1978-1983, every Monday was called TEMPO, that means from spot A to spot B you must double march to that spot, you must not be caught walking, yes TEMPO! The enforcement was carried out by the provost corps. Drill is a necessary tool for instilling discipline amongst members of the armed forces. Recently I watched the POP of NMS and I was overwhelmed with amazement that drill has taken a new dimension. Also, when I watched the POP of NDA, I was stunned!
Nonetheless, I am very proud of all the drills imbibed in me by the drill instructors. I became a stick-orderly but got dropped because I grew too fast, to date when I meet any of my seniors, effortlessly I spring into attention. After my first pass in green, I came home to meet my dad, I first saluted him and also prostrated before him and he laughed and laughed.
Have a great week and weekend ahead!
On receive the word of command dismiss, turn to the right and SALUTE - DISMISS!