Lanier Drill Team

I recently went to a dry cleaning place on N. New Braunfels to leave a suit for cleaning. As I was waiting to be served, I noticed a picture of a drill team member from Central Catholic. It brought back memories of my time with the Lanier High School Drill Team.
I had joined the drill team in 1956 and participated with them in all of the meets and one of the most formidable foe was Central Catholic. My last event was in 1958 before I graduated.
Looking back when we practice, it was very strict and we followed the Army Manual of Arms FM 22-5. At that time there were about forty of us with a guide and drill team leader. Not like the ones there are now with ten or fewer. We also had a mascot. He was a little kid who wanted to be with us. He marched with us in the parades. His name was Albert Gallegos.
When I started with the drill team, we had brown boots that we had to spit shine and we also wore white leggings. Later, we had to dye the boots black due to the change in Army uniform. The uniform was Army khaki which had to be starched without a wrinkle when we competed. Sometimes we wouldn’t sit down at all. The shirts had to be tailored to the contours of our upper torso. Every year we had the helmets painted a different pattern but always blue and white. Eventually, we got rid of the leggings and just blouse the pants with a special rubber band.
Practice always started before we went to class and after the last class of the day. It would get dark before we ended practice. The objective was to have the movement of the rifle and arm in accordance with the Army manual of arms and marching along the same way. When we competed, the scorers were military members who were familiar with FM 22-5 and followed the rules. There was a score for fancy maneuvers which also followed FM 22-5 no matter how fancy their movements were.
Every year we were invited to participate in the Battle of Flowers and Flambeau parade. At that time, we would have to meet on Broadway close to the Butter Krust building. This was before the freeway. We would go after floats not like they do now. Sometimes after a band. We would march for a few minutes and perform our fancy drills all along on Broadway, Houston and Commerce and Alamo streets. The parade would loop around downtown. I don’t remember having any water breaks the whole time.
Afterwards, we would send the rifles back to the armory with the sergeants. I remember having to stay downtown and enjoy the carnival with my friends in uniform.
The west side of downtown in the area where we marched was full of stores where the parade goers would be on the roofs and windows watching us perform. Those stores are no longer there especially on Houston street.
The ROTC program at Lanier was a strong presence at the school. It was a great day to dress up and show our uniform with the blue foreigier and the red one if you were in the rifle team. Every year we would have a field day of sorts where the whole battalion would show up in parade form. The Drill Team would perform and afterwards all would march in parade. It was a grand time to be at Lanier.
I have to give credit to the drill team leaders at that time for the example they set for us. They were Adolfo Lara, Faustino Gomez and the ones before whom I don’t remember their names. I think it was Javier Celaya.

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