Churning Boys Into Men
"VALOUR OF YORE; ONE AGAINST TEN, RESOLUTELY CHURNING BOYS INTO MEN, THE PRECISION TO MAN ARMS WITH SKILL ALL FORGED IN THE FURNACE CALLED DRILL"
- G B SAMOT
Drill is the bedrock of discipline - thus goes an old saying and nothing could be closer to truth than the import behind this statement. The Drill square is often metaphorically compared to a potter's yard, wherein clay of various hues and textures are treated, amalgamated and finally shaped into commendable works of art; each piece unique in itself and yet part of a whole. Just as the Psalmist proclaimed 'Blessed be the Lord my God, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war', vigilant, meticulous and methodical tutelage is provided by drill instructors, considered to be the best in the Armed Forces. The essential qualities of endurance, uniformity, military bearing, pride in one's self, turnout and most importantly implicit obedience to orders, are drilled, drummed and ingrained into the very persona of cadets over a span of three years through a well-structured lesson plan. Once through this time tested regime, a cadet is never the same again. This crucible of leadership lies within the 400 x 150 meters of the Khetarpal Parade ground named after Param Vir Chakra awardee, 2/Lt Arun Khetarpal (F Squadron/38 NDA) who lived, served and made the supreme sacrifice in the true spirit of "Service Before Self".
Cadets on parade
Not surprisingly, the acid test from a cadet's point of view is not his PT or Academic tests, but the much loved and loathed Drill Square Test or DST. Passing this test entitles him to the two 'Ls' he craves for; the Maroon Lanyard and Liberty! More importantly, he no longer remains a mere "Academy Number" but is part of an elite club for attaining the basic standards of drill, worthy of an Officer Cadet. Drill, far from being an individual regimen, is at its best during the hard fought "Drill Competition" every term. Apart from having the largest and most glamorous trophy of all Inter Squadron Competitions, it also entitles its winner to an element of pride, perhaps no other competition can boast of. It is but befitting that the finished product of three years of sweat, spirit and polish is put to display on the Drill Square, by the Academy to proud and expectant parents, on the grandest occasion of every term-the Passing Out Parade. The glint in a cadet's eye and pride in his gait as he wistfully marches past the Quarter Deck to the lusty strains of adieus from the junior most course atop the 99 ft 6 inches mast of INS Delhi, can perhaps best sum up the change in a cadet from clay to a vase; from a Boy to a Man.