FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
4 February 1998
1998 Guards Update
The Summerall Guards have for 66 years been The Citadel's showpiece of military precision and drill. Their performances have done much to enhance the public image of The Citadel as an institution of high military standards. Cadets and alumni alike are proud of The Summerall Guards and associate themselves with the high standards of conduct, appearance, and military drill precision expected of the Summerall Guards members. With this in mind, it is important to set the record straight with regard to the current situation with the 1998 Summerall Guards.
During past years the Summerall Guards have evolved a tradition of independence. Slowly during this period subtle changes to the Summerall Guards' "Citadel Series" and individual selection criteria were made by a succession of its members. Physical fitness became an overriding selection criterion in favor of drill proficiency. A number of innovations, which are considered to be non-military distractors from the original precision military drill series, were allowed to be introduced into the series.
Consequently, the 1998 Summerall Guards were given the following direction: 1. Place primary emphasis on drill excellence as opposed to physical fitness. 2. Eliminate errant head and hand movements. 3. Use standard front and rear guide movements. These changes were considered necessary to return to the high military standards expected of a precision military drill unit. There has never been any intent on the part of The Citadel administration to direct the Summerall Guards to abandon the "Citadel Series." The basic drill "Citadel Series" consisting of the 25 count rifle manual, the criss cross series, the backward to the rear series, and the squad series were not involved in the directed changes.
Nevertheless, the 1998 Summerall Guards felt that even these changes struck at the heart of tradition and believed that they could not continue to participate in the program. The administration understands and respects the position and opinion of the 1998 Summerall Guards, but will continue to take action to ensure the continuance of the Summerall Guards. The objective of the administration is to ensure the integrity of the Summerall Guards mission that it represent the college as a precision drill unit. The Citadel respects the rights of cadets to express their opinions, as all colleges throughout the United States do. Above all, the entire Class of 1998, including the 1998 Summerall Guards, is to be commended for the superior demonstration of leadership which was required to effect the many changes that have occurred during their senior year. Cadet Captain Woody Francis, Commander of the 1998 Summerall Guards stated, "This has been blown out of proportion. Certainly this has been a difficult decision, but there is not a rift between the administration and the 1998 Summerall Guards. Major General Grinalds and Brigadier General Mace realize our point of view, as we do theirs. We simply could not reach an agreement." Citadel President John Grinalds declared, "The Class of 1998 is the best, having responded with positive leadership to every challenge this school year. They have handled this difference of opinion in a gentlemanly and totally professional manner. We will continue to work together to build an even better Citadel."