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To some people a Divisional Officer (D.O.) merely stands in front of a division for Colours and Sunset, and every now and then for inspections, gives the occasional command, and then marches off to his/her other unrelated duties. Not even close!  A Divisional Officer is so much more than that, but unfortunately, for the most part, is under utilized in that role, a fact that will become more evident as we make our way through this training.

Before we go any further, I will state right off the bat, that volunteering as an officer should never be regarded as a chore, It can be hard work at times, but it’s never a chore. What I mean by that is, (and this is strictly my own opinion), if you find yourself more often than not, when it can be avoided:

  • Showing up late;
  • Showing up as close to Colours as you possibly can;
  • Showing up ill prepared for teaching;
  • Not showing up at all;
  • Leaving the ship as soon as you can;
  • Making excuses to leave early or;
  • Getting anxious or annoyed because things are running a little late;

then you may have relegated your duties to that of a chore.  That being the case, you now need to re-evaluate your commitment. As an officer of any rank and position you must be committed to this in order to do right by your cadets and fellow officers. I bring this up now as commitment is the first thing you’ll need in order to succeed in any position as a Navy League Officer.

Forming A Division

Division image

There is nothing worse than standing in front of your cadets and not having a clue how to correctly place them. Trepidation overcomes you as you see that knowing look on the face of your 12 year old DPO, heightened by the sensation of the C.O.’s eyes burning a hole in the back of your head. Although the act of forming a division is primarily the duty of the Divisional Petty Officer, there are occasions where you will be expected to not only carry this out, but also to teach this to your cadets. Fear not, studying the diagrams to the right will soon have you shuffling your cadets with the ease of a professional Croupier.

As you will see, the diagrams will show you what to do with up to sixteen cadets. The first diagram, (top left), although showing 5 cadets, is good for less than five also.

A couple of things to keep in mind:

  • The ranks, (not to be confused with positions of authority), can number no more than three. However the files can, in theory, continue forever.
  • A division can never form a true square.
  • Never count your DPO as part of your divisional compliment when working out the formation.
  • The D.O and D.P.O. must position themselves at the front and rear center of the division, (the DPO to the front when the DO is not present).
  • Your Marker will fall in to the front right of your division. All other cadets will take their bearing from him/her.
  • When dressing your division, the cadets to the right of your ranks, will remain still. All other cadets will take their dressing from them. (This will be explained further)

Falling Into Division

falling in

Once your division is formed, there are countless reasons why cadets will have to fall out of, and back in to, division. In fact, this will happen on most parade nights. That being true, you would think that there would be ample opportunity for cadets, and officers, to master this simple manoeuvre. However, it’s been my experience that this is not the case, and some, if not most, cadets stroll in and out of the ranks in any fashion they wish. 

By following this guide, I’ll guarantee that your cadets will fall in and out of division with military precision, leaving you feeling like a proud parent or at the very least a mildly happy drill sergeant.

When required to “Fall In” to a division, once the division is already assembled, the cadet(s) will:

  1. Report to whoever is at the front of the division, (saluting if it’s an officer).
  2. Request permission to fall in.
  3. Once permission has been given, salute if it’s an Officer.
  4. Perform a right turn.
  5. March to the end of the front rank, always entering the division from the left, (non-marker) side.
  6. Then march to the rear of the rank he/she will be falling in to.
  7. March along the rear of the rank, without arms swinging if the division is not in the Open Order position.
  8. Wheel into place in the division.