The U.S. Army’s official drill team performs thrilling stunts with bayonet-tipped 1903 Springfield rifles on stages for thousands of people every year. The team’s Soldiers recently took their talents from the stage to the set of one of Lifetime Television’s highest rated shows.
Members of the U.S. Army Drill Team, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) performed during a taping of the 100th episode of “Army Wives,” May 8, 2012, in Charleston, S.C.
“I was very excited when I heard that we were going to be on an episode of ‘Army Wives.’ I have seen only a little bit of the show, but it’s not every day that you are asked to be on TV,” said Spc. Aaron Maxim. “I wasn’t nervous at all, but was anxious about the whole experience.”
Appearing on TV rather than in a stadium full of people was a novel experience for Maxim.
“We have some guys on the team that have been on TV before, but this was a new one for me,” Maxim said. “When we were about to perform, I wasn’t thinking about the possible millions of people that will be watching, but just our actual routine. I just stayed in the moment.”
The team performed different routines multiple times to ensure that the production team had everything they wanted.
“We had to go through each routine a couple times so that they could capture all of the shots and angles. The director would yell, ‘Cut!’ and then they would move cameras around,” said Maxim. “We were out on set all day to get those shots, but I know they turned out pretty good.”
He added that the soloist had a special part in the show, as did a few other team members, including Spc. Joseph Rodrigues.
Rodrigues wasn’t needed as a usual driller for the show; he served as an extra.
“It was the first time I’d ever been on a TV show, and even though I wasn’t performing in a major role, I thought it was really fun,” he said. “I had to walk up a path and go up to a group of people and pretend to talk and that was pretty much it.”
Rodrigues, who broke drill just last month, also said how great it was to just travel and be a part of his new team.
“I am sort of the new guy here, but it was great being there with everyone in all that nice weather,” he said. “Everyone worked hard and was just really ready for whatever role they had.”
One part of the trip that stood out for Maxim was the hospitality of the “Army Wives” cast and crew.
“I am from the South, and it was just a good feeling to get some of that Southern comfort,” he said. “Everyone was just very nice down there. They really took care of us.”
Even though it was just one day of performing and recording, the USADT Soldiers said the memories they made would last a lifetime.
“It was a great experience for me and the team. The chance to go to a nice city like Charleston and do something like this is one of a kind,” explained Maxim. “We represented our unit and the Army very well by our professionalism and skill. I am really looking forward to the next event.”
The 100th episode has not been scheduled yet, but is expected to air mid-summer.
To learn more about the U.S. Army Drill Team, visit http://www.army.mil/info/organization/unitsandcommands/commandstructure/theoldguard/specplt/usadt.htm.