Drill Instructor Sergeant Grollnek

Drill Instructor Sergeant Chris Grollnek, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, Summer 1997. During the year 1997, while assigned to the Instructional Training Unit, Support Battalion for his quota after training several platoons with 3rd Bn M Company as a Drill Instructor and a Senior Drill Instructor, Sergeant Chris Grollnek and Sgt Cruz were hand-picked to develop and create a sample video for potential Drill Instructors before they would apply to school. The purpose of this video was to assist the Marines putting in for D.I. duty and to demonstrate the gravity of how in-depth the teach back process is to being sucessful at D.I. School.

This video went on to be the cornerstone, for approximately two-years, for candidates attempting to attend the Marine Corps elite Drill Instructor School. At the time of this video production, this school was rated as one of the most difficult Military Schools to complete. Class 2-96, the class number Chris Grollnek attended and graduated in the top three percent of began with 121 Marines while only graduating a total of 61. Upon review and feedback from Marines sent back to their unit was this portion was never given the value it needed before shipping off for school. The number one issue in that time period at D.I. School, on both coasts, was the solitary issue of teach-backs. There were no examples or videos at that time to explain the importance of such detail so the attrition rate would be near unmanageable.

Memorizing and performing teach-backs of the entire Drill Manual in concept was a little more difficult when attempting to do it live. The Commanding Officer of the Depot began with the idea to produce video and send it out to potential candidates to see the gravity of the teach-back and the weight it held for the school itself. This is a sample of several rough cuts, but fun to film in 2-hours with no notice. The memorization was one of the hardest things for many to learn to master before graduation. A drill instructor has to master the entire Drill Manual VERBATIM to graduate.



One of the cornerstones of Marine Corps customs, courtesies and traditions is our execution of close order drill and ceremonies. These traditions are perpetuated from one generation to the next through constant use and practice.  The “esprit de corps” of every Marine has been brought about by their ever-present feeling of pride, not only in their unit, but also in themselves.  The preservation of traditional discipline, our customs and courtesies, and the heritage of our Corps is our duty.  It is our further duty to see that the same high standard of discipline and esprit de corps is not only preserved, but also further strengthened.  These intangibles must be passed on to the future Marines who will take their place among the ranks our Corps.

The object of close order drill is to teach Marines by exercise to obey orders and to do so immediately in the correct way. Close order drill is one foundation of discipline and esprit de corps. Additionally, it is still one of the finest methods for developing confidence and troop leading abilities in our subordinate leaders. Ceremonial duties are written deep into our history as a Corps. It is no coincidence that among the units famous for ceremonial prowess and spit-and-polish are also to be found some of the worlds most redoubtable fighting formations.  The hallmark of the world’s fighting organizations, the Roman legions, the Spartans, the Foreign Legion, the British Brigade of Guards and many others is that they are as good on parade as they are in the field or in the attack.

While we no longer use drill and formations to align the ranks as was done for the phalanxes of Rome or the squares of Waterloo, drill and ceremony is still the foundation of instilling and developing discipline in any size unit and the individual. The Marine Corps has long enjoyed a worldwide reputation for sharp appearance and soldierly performance of duties.  Our reputation as a Corps is built upon the legacy of those that came before us and puts us on par with the finest military organizations in the world’s history.  This reputation has been enhanced by continually demonstrating that our execution of peacetime functions is excelled only by our performance in battle.

The special distinction that the Marine Corps has today in regards to drill and ceremonies is best exemplified by the saying “First on foot, and right on the line.” This privilege bestowed on the Corps by the Secretary of the Navy on 9 August 1876, gives Marines the place of honor in any Naval formation. 

Today we continue the tradition of excellence associated with drill. Beginning with OCS and recruit training we continue to use close order drill as the foundation for developing discipline and esprit de corps. This process is the first step that transforms the civilian into a Marine and then develops the teamwork and unit cohesion. This process then continues in the operating forces through the proper execution of drill and ceremonies to maintain the same level of discipline and esprit de corps found at entry-level training.

This Manual has been the work of many dedicated Marines, past and present. The members of the current drill committee owe all those who have contributed to this collaborative effort a debt of gratitude. Because of this the members of the drill committee in reviewing and updating this Manual have attempted to remain true to this heritage and the traditions of our Corps. This is the first drill manual of the 21st century and we have attempted to provide for the needs of a modern Marine Corps while remaining faithful to the traditions of our past. Extensive research was done to ensure historical accuracy for terms and procedures. Changes were made only to standardize usage and, in some cases, ensure compliance with other Marine Corps directives. Finally, the intent was to produce a manual that would be easy to use.

Reference and Credit:


From: Commandant of the Marine Corps 

To:    Distribution List


Ref:   (a) Marine Corps Manual

Encl:  (1) Locator Sheet

MCO P5060.20

C 06 5 May 03

1.  Purpose. The Marine Corps Drill and Ceremonies Manual is

designed to provide uniformity and standardization for all Marine Corps organizations.  This Manual prescribes procedures for all close order drill and military ceremonial evolutions.

2.  Cancellation. NAVMC 2691.

3. Summary of Revision.  This Manual has been revised to incorporate minor changes to existing procedures and rearrange material more logically.  Additionally, a large amount of new information has been added to the Manual.  This Manual should be reviewed in its entirety.

4.  Scope. This Manual encompasses all close order drill procedures for use by Marine Corps organizations with the exception of Marine Barracks, Washington, DC.  The ceremonies outlined in this Manual are those traditionally executed by Marine Corps units.  The only deviation from procedures outlined in this Manual are those authorized by specific provisions of the Manual.

5.  Recommendation of Modification. Recommendations for improving or modifying the Marine Corps Drill and Ceremonies Manual are invited.

Recommended changes will be submitted to the CG, Training and

Education Command (TECOM), Quantico, VA.


Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited

By Chris Grollnek

Active Shooter Prevention Trainer and Public Speaker PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY: Chris Grollnek is a dynamic Public Speaker and forward-thinking Director of the Active Shooter Prevention Project, LLC. (www.aspppro.com) An Interview and Investigation specialist with a record of success at the Executive and National level for Leadership and Management efficiencies regarding Policy and the Curriculum Development for Terrorism related Prevention. Chris recently wrote and appeared in the Department of Justice Active Shooter prevention Training Video (2022-2023). Complete understanding of government and corporate contracting and investigative programs to enhance corporate standards of policy implementation. An architect of efficiencies with a results-oriented pattern of success in investigative techniques, security, safety, sales leadership, and interviewing while leading teams and establishing best practices. A well-versed public speaker, freelance television contributor, and radio news commentator. Experience in testifying before serval governmental bodies, including The United States Congressional bodies of the House and Senate committees, regarding Terrorism Prevention, Response, and Training Initiatives. #activeshooterexpert #NEVERHERE