Posted on Tuesday, Jul 21, 2020
Vol. 4 Issue 1
The scene opens on a grassy courtyard. Marines in dress blues stand at attention, rifles in hand, backdropped by tall, columned buildings. The opening credits roll as the drill begins with immaculate precision. The names of stars like Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland and Jack Nicholson blink in and out as the Marines move in complete synchronicity. Rifles and boots clatter with uncanny control as the drill progresses. That in itself is a sight to behold. However, what’s most amazing about this scene is that the Marines performing the drill aren’t Marines at all. They are in fact Texas A&M’s Corps of Cadets Fish Drill Team, a precision drill team comprised of members from the freshman class, otherwise known as ‘fish’.
Starring in the opening scene of A Few Good Men is just one from a distinguished list of accomplishments for the Fish Drill Team (FDT). Each year the team travels to New Orleans, LA to compete in the Tulane University NROTC Battallion Mardi Gras Drill Meet, the premier national ROTC competition. FDT holds the national championship title with seven years of consecutive wins, besting teams from across the nation, including teams from the military service academies. Many of the competing teams are comprised of seasoned upperclassmen.
FDT members receive direct training from their sophomore advisors, former FDT members who have completed the Advisor Training Program, an intense five-week drill instruction and small unit leadership training course led by the Cadet Senior Advisor and advisors from the Commandant’s staff. FDT members train twice a week. The two hour sessions include training in Squad Drill, Platoon Basic Drill, Platoon Exhibition Drill and Color Guard. Emphasis is placed on teamwork, personal discipline, military bearing, attention to detail, and instant obedience to orders.
"I had the privilege of observing an FDT practice my junior year of high school and decided if I went to Texas A&M I would join FDT. I ended up coming to A&M and joining FDT, and eventually was elevated to the position of Fish Commander spring semester. I learned a lot about the difficulties of peer leadership firsthand, and believe that experience greatly prepared me for becoming a First Sergeant for Company G-1. I also had the great honor of serving as an advisor with the drill team, learning to hold myself to a high standard of excellence because that is what we expect from the fish. The lessons learned from FDT have served me well during my time here at Texas A&M and will serve me long after I have graduated," says Cadet 1stSgt Aaron M. Barclay ’18.
FDT membership is open to all fish in the Corps. An FDT information session is held around the fifth week of the fall semester. The session includes a video of the previous team’s performance, an explanation of what the FDT does and what is expected of its members, as well as an introduction to their sophomore advisors who will be their direct trainers.