2021 INDUCTEE OF THE MILITARY DRILL HALL OF FAME
Central Catholic High School &
The Chaminade Guard
The first boys' school in San Antonio and still one of the largest all-male private secondary schools in the state of Texas, Central Catholic High School remains a prestigious landmark in San Antonio and a symbol of excellence throughout Texas. The Central Catholic High School varsity drill team was formed in 1938, six years after the Corps of Cadets was established and 3 years after JROTC was officially added to the curriculum. Initially, it was known as the Central Catholic Drill Team. About 1951, the name was changed to The Chaminade Rifles in honor of Bessed Fr. William Joseph Chaminade, founder of the Society of Mary, the order that founded and operates CCHS. About 1955 the team took the current name, the Chaminade Guard. The Chaminade Guard was originally founded in 1938 over 80 years ago. It has been continuously active for that entire period of time and was one of the if not the FINEST competition drill program in the United States for decades.
Commonly referred to as "The Guard" and more appropriately and often called "The Machine" mostly by those who were competing AGAINST them, they enjoyed unparalleled success from the later 1950's onward through the 1970's in the highly competitive world of drill in Texas. The Guard normally marching with a 40 block platoon with guidon and right guide, along with the CO and XO, for a total 44 member marching unit. But this wasn't the entire team! The Guard had an 8-10 man reserve, or when things were very flush, an independent freshman drill team known as the "Loyd Rifles". This team in some years had a complete OTHER 40 person drill unit!
Take a look at this CC 8mm video from a smaller unit in 1967.
The precision shown even on this grainy video is just plain awe-inspiring!
Shown at right, the Chaminade Guard Alumni, from 1960 thru 2021,
gather with current team members to celebrate the team's selection into
the National Military Drill Hall of Fame, 7 June 2021.
While actual VERIFIABLE FACTS can be hard to come by, it is widely recognized that "The Guard" was the first team to incorporate a ripple line within their performance, as well as the first JROTC west of the Mississippi to incorporate a long rifle toss using a full-weight, demilitarized M1, from the front of the unit to the rear, or in this case over 40 team members! Many remember this being done by Rutgers University on the collegiate level in a similar timeframe but NOT with a formation this large. In designing that historic toss. it is said the CO that year came across an 8mm film loop of Rutgers, and off it went. Totally verifiable were the numerous eye witness accounts from teams that competed against them who said they would often come in and capture 1st place in every event - and that they were simply unbeatable on their WORST DAY!
While the winds of social change in the later 1970's dictated a decrease in popularity of JROTC units, "The Guard" kept marching on with smaller and smaller teams. They continued to perform without interruption. This, in itself, is an unparalleled accomplishment and must rank the unit as one of the oldest, continually active drill units in high school.
It's a testament to their domination evidenced by the words of a competing drill team member, at the 4th Army Championships held in Arlington, Texas, in the 1960's that "Central Catholic looked better getting off the bus than his team did on the competition field". In those days and in those events, they steam rolled teams. Judges were left mouth agape watching a marching unit this size back in the day. The team won during one run 12 of 14 consecutive Fourth Army Championships conducted each year at Arlington State College (now UT-Arlington).
It is an honor long overdue to have a unit with such an amazing pedigree to become a part of the hallowed halls within the National Military Drill Hall of Fame. This site could not be considered legitimate without their entry!