Ceremonial Guards are Elite Troops

For some values of the word, “elite.” It’s true that they’re carefully selected and drilled hard. Not just in the industrial West; for many nations, having a drill team that can stomp and strut with the best of ’em is a vital part of the country’s patrimony. So watch this video and grit your teeth as the soldiers of many nationalities slip and fall, a Briton can’t resist a $#!-eating grin, a US Marine drill team member launches his rifle in an unexpected direction, a gang of Afghan pallbearers make the rookie facing-movement mistake that has caused many a private to spend a day or two of basic training with a rock in his left pocket, and that’s just the dismounted guards. Put them on a horse, with polished helms and gorgets or cuirasses, and further hilarity ensues.

While we’re marveling at ceremonies gone bad, the ultimate display of formal ceremony has to be the Wagah border crossing opening and closing ceremonies. Here a comedian of Indian extraction reviews it for the Beeb.  And yes, the imposing soldiers on both sides are selected, in part, for their luxuriant, 19th-Century facial hair.

Jean Lartéguy, call your office….

8 thoughts on “Ceremonial Guards are Elite Troops

  1. Matt

    I feel 1000% better about my time in The Old Guard as a ceremonial soldier now. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Shoulder firelocks!

    1. Hognose Post author

      I didn’t notice any 3rd Inf cock-ups in that highlight (lowlight?) reel. I’m sure there have been some over the years.

      1. Matt

        Oh, yeah, without a doubt. But the ministry of silly walks didn’t write our D&C manual, and that makes me happy :)

  2. Jim

    The Wagah ceremony always reminds me of that old Monty Python skit on the Ministry of Silly Walks.

  3. Tom Schultz

    To truly appreciate ‘elite’ troops practicing Monty Python ‘silly ‘walk’ formations , you would have had to witness 1st SFG folks on Oki in the mid 60’s practicing US Army Riot Control formations.

  4. Aesop

    This is why there’s a World Cup: 77 nations recognize that not everyone can field nor be in the league with the SAS, SF, SEALs, etc., let alone the Household Division, Silent Drill Team, or the Old Guard.

    The problem with Indo-Paki conflicts is that were they to resolve to settle all future differences solely on the soccer field, some crybaby would invariably reach for the launch codes every time they didn’t like the final score.

    But yes, definitely still prefer service in Larteguy’s second group.

  5. LFMayor

    It’s much easier to watch if you cut the sound and play “Kung Fu Fighting” instead.

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