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Buckley keeps tradition alive

The group and squadron commanders of the 460th Space Wing salute Col. Dan A. Dant, former 460th SW commander, June 28, 2013, during the 460th SW change of command ceremony on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. This was Dant’s final salute before he relinquished command of the wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Phillip Houk/Released)

The group and squadron commanders of the 460th Space Wing salute Col. Dan A. Dant, former 460th SW commander, June 28, 2013, during the 460th SW change of command ceremony on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. This was Dant’s final salute before he relinquished command of the wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Phillip Houk/Released)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- With Buckley's change of command coming to a close, the 460th Space Wing decided to bring back a tradition and prepared for its own pass in review.

As the wing said farewell to Col. Dan Dant and welcomed Col. Daniel Wright III as the new commander, the military tradition of pass in review gave the commanders a chance to show how impressive the Airmen are to the reviewing official.

"I think it is appropriate that Col. Dant wanted to do this. It doesn't hurt to remember your roots, to remember that we do have traditions that we fall back on," said Barbara Atwell, 460th SW chief of protocol.

The tradition of pass in review has roots that date back to Alexander the Great. He would walk the lines inspecting his troops before going into battle. The traditional ceremony of pass in review evolved at Valley Forge, Pa. during the Revolutionary War. Baron Friedrich Von Steuben volunteered his services to the Continental Congress and was assigned to serve under Gen. George Washington at Valley Forge. Washington appointed Steuben as the inspector general, and he oversaw the training and discipline of the Continental Army.

With 100 men selected as a test group, Steuben instructed and trained the men in drill, maneuver and a simplified manual of arms. All training was done in full military dress uniform. He introduced a system of progressive training including the school of the Soldier, with and without arms, and the school of the regiment. These schools taught the basics of soldiering such as marching, drill, firing and bayonet procedures, discipline, and charges of each rank.

After Steuben's remodeling of the test group was completed, the 100 men went to each brigade teaching other Soldiers. Company commanders were responsible for the training of new men at first, but selected sergeants were appointed to instruct and train while the officer oversaw the training. Eventually this training spread like wildfire, and the results of the new Continental Army's training showed at Barren Hill, Pa.

Over the next 236 years, the traditions created by Steuben have been practiced by all the military branches and has become more ceremonial. Troops have the opportunity to show their discipline and the training that makes them the best during a pass in review.
"It is a nod to our heritage. It is one of those traditions that everyone can relate too," said Shawn Riem, 460th SW historian. "It gives people that sense of continuity."

Not commonly practiced in the Air Force, pass in reviews offer a display of discipline, camaraderie and a sense of pride of Air Force heritage.

Information about this article was retrieved from http://steubensociety.org/VonSteuben.htm
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