Passing Out Parade of members of No.1 Officer Cadet Training Unit, RAF Jurby, January 1957.
Passing Out Parade of members of No.1 Officer Cadet Training Unit, RAF Jurby, January 1957.

Passing out is the completion of a course by military or other service personnel or the graduation from a college, largely in Commonwealth nations.[1] Soldiers sometimes take part in a passing out parade upon completion of a basic training course.[2] The military parade during the passing out also consists of military bands and other displays of synchronization discipline such as acrobatics.[3]

Marshal of the Royal Air Force Trenchard inspecting apprentices during a passing out parade at Groves and Henderson Barracks at RAF Halton.
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Trenchard inspecting apprentices during a passing out parade at Groves and Henderson Barracks at RAF Halton.
Passing Out Parade, RAF Halton, in July 2006
Passing Out Parade, RAF Halton, in July 2006

Name

The parade may also be referred to as a 'Marching out' parade as it is at the Army Recruit Training Centre at Kapooka in Australia.[4] It is also known as "Pass off" parade as in the case of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps and Passing out "Ceremony" in the case of Warsash Maritime Academy.[5][6] It is also known as "Sovereign's Parade" at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.[7] Since 1964, the Fire and Rescue NSW conducts a passing out parade on course completion.[8]

Reviewing officer and guests

A reviewing officer during an Irish Defence Forces passing out
A reviewing officer during an Irish Defence Forces passing out

A "reviewing officer", usually a senior officer, reviews the parade and hands out medals to cadets who have excelled.[9] Militaries around the world usually allow civilian guests including parents, to attend the passing out parade.[3] Dignitaries may also be present as was the case at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2010 when the British Prime Minister David Cameron was present to witness the event. Other dignitaries at the event included relatives of graduating cadets such the President of Yemen and the Prime Minister of Bahrain.[10] The chief guest at the military passing out parade of Napuka Secondary School, Cakaudrove, in August 2019 was the senior most female officer of the military forces of the Republic of Fiji.[11] In 2019, Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the graduation ceremony at the United States Military Academy.[12]

The National Military Academy of Afghanistan class of 2010 listens as Afghan President Hamid Karzai gives a speech during their graduation ceremony in 2010
The National Military Academy of Afghanistan class of 2010 listens as Afghan President Hamid Karzai gives a speech during their graduation ceremony in 2010

In 2019, the reviewing officer for the 136th Passing out Parade (POP) at the Indian Military Academy (IMA) was Lieutenant General Cherish Mathson. Having such senior officers present is a morale booster for the cadets.[13] During the passing out parade, a dignitary may also make a speech, as was the case during the passing out parade in IMA in 2007, when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressed the cadets and guests.[14]

Traditions

Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

The passing out at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, known as the Sovereign's Parade, is conducted three times a year.[15] One of the main ceremonies during the parade is Trooping the Colour.[16] Various awards and honours are presented to cadets who have excelled. This includes the Queen's Medal, the Overseas Sword and the MacRobert Sword.[17][18]

Sword of Honour

The passing out can also consist of traditions such as presentation of a "Sword of Honour" as in the case of Sandhurst and Indian and Pakistan military academies.[19][20][21] In 2010 for the first time in the history of the Officers Training Academy, India, a female cadet, Divya Ajith Kumar, was presented the sword of honour.[22][23]

Shipping of stripes

Friends and family pin rank during the commissioning ceremony after the United States Military Academy Graduation and Commissioning Ceremonies for the Class of 2013 at the Michie Stadium in West Point
Friends and family pin rank during the commissioning ceremony after the United States Military Academy Graduation and Commissioning Ceremonies for the Class of 2013 at the Michie Stadium in West Point

Another tradition that happens during the passing out is the "Shipping-of-Stripes" as in the case of the Indian Naval Academy.[3] During this ceremony, senior officers and the relatives of the passing out cadets ship the epaulettes (commonly known as "Stripes") on the uniform. This represents the graduation of the cadets into officers.[24]

Music

A common song that is played during the passing out, especially in Commonwealth countries, is Auld Lang Syne, a Robert Burns poem.[25][26] The military parade during the passing out also consists of military bands. At the Indian Military Academy, before the cadets begin the passing out parade ceremony, the band plays a melody (aarti), allowing the cadets to pray to their respective god.[27]

Hat toss

The first recorded hat toss in United States was in 1946 at West Point. After the hat toss, children are allowed to take one hat each. Cadets fill the hats with notes, snapshots, and even money for the children.[28] At some places such as the Indian Military Academy flinging-of-cap has been stopped.[29] The tradition of cap-flinging during the passing out parade has a long past, the tradition starting well before India's Independence from British rule.[29] It was stopped in 2010 as some people found it disrespectful for the caps to touch the ground.[30]

Other

Other traditions include the adjutant leading the parade to crack a joke to lighten the atmosphere, as in the case of the Indian Military Academy passing out parade.[27] At the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the parade finale includes the adjutant riding up the steps of the Old College (the origin of this tradition is unknown).[31] At the Indian Military Academy, the finale is the antim path (final step), where cadets take the last step into Chetwode Hall.[32]

Popular culture

The passing out parade is depicted in the 1980s book "The Passing-out Parade: A Play" by British writer Anne Valery.[33] In the 2004 Bollywood movie Lakshya, Hritik Roshan on completion of his course at the Indian Military Academy, takes part in a Passing out Parade.[34]

Passing out around the world

References

  1. ^ "Extraordinary security arrangements for IMA passing out parade". Hindustan Times. 12 December 2008. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  2. ^ "iPrepNS | Passing out parade". Iprep.ns.sg. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Naval passing out parade: It's about valour and determination". Rediff. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  4. ^ "March Out parade information". Australian Army. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  5. ^ Bogdanovic, Nikolai (14 December 2017). Fit to Fight: A History of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps 1860–2015. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781472824233.
  6. ^ "Officer cadet passing out ceremonies at Warsash Maritime Academy". Warsash Maritime Academy. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  7. ^ Banks, Charlotte (11 August 2017). "King Of Jordan Inspects Sovereign's Parade At Sandhurst". Forces Network. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Passing out parades and national medal presentations". New South Wales State Archives and Records. 17 November 2018. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Passing Out Parade at INS Chilka". Indian Navy. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  10. ^ "Cameron inspects Sandhurst cadets". BBC. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  11. ^ Chand, Shalveen (9 August 2019). "Military Discipline Shines in Students at Passing-Out Parade". Fiji Sun. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  12. ^ Marco, Tony (27 May 2019). "West Point is about to graduate its largest class of black women". CNN. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  13. ^ Jha, Prashant (31 May 2019). "Lt Gen Cherish Mathson to be reviewing officer of POP". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  14. ^ "PM's address at the Indian Military Academy Passing Out Prade : Speeches : Prime Minister of India – Dr. Manmohan Singh". Prime Minister's Office Archive. 10 December 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  15. ^ Sovereign's Parade Programme. RMA Sandhurst. April 2012.
  16. ^ "The Sovereign's Parade, April 1985". YouTube.
  17. ^ "178th Sovereign's Parade". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  18. ^ "London Officer Cadet tops course at RMA Sandhurst". The Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Association for Greater London. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  19. ^ "Prince Harry presents award to top officer cadet at Sandhurst". Express.co.uk. 15 December 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  20. ^ "Swords of Honour by Alamgirians". Military College Jhelum. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  21. ^ Budhwar, Yeshika (11 December 2016). "sward of honor: Odisha boy gets Sword of Honour | Dehradun News – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  22. ^ Nurullah, Abdullah (26 February 2016). "She is an officer and a woman". The Times of India. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  23. ^ Staff Reporter (19 September 2010). "Chennai cadet creates history at OTA passing-out parade". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  24. ^ "Passing out Parade held at Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala". Press Information Bureau, Government of India, Ministry of Defence. 22 November 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  25. ^ "Passing Out Parade – Spring Term 2019 Held at Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala". Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Defence. 25 May 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  26. ^ "SANDHURST PASSING OUT PARADE | AP Archive". www.aparchive.com. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  27. ^ a b Jha, Prashant (8 June 2019). "IMA POP: A few beliefs and traditions | Dehradun News – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  28. ^ Berman, Mark (28 May 2014). "A brief history of the West Point hat toss". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  29. ^ a b Basu, Indranil (9 December 2012). "IMA's cap-flinging tradition bites dust". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  30. ^ "No caps tossed this time". The Tribune, Chandigarh. 11 December 2010. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  31. ^ "In pictures: Officer cadets' passing out ceremony at Sandhurst". 10 August 2018. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  32. ^ "UP tops list as 487 officers graduate from Indian Military Academy". The Statesman. 9 December 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  33. ^ Valery, Anne (1980). The Passing-out Parade: A Play. S. French. ISBN 9780573130038.
  34. ^ Gupta, Rinku (2 July 2004). "The Hindu Business Line : `The toughest role of my career'". Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 7 August 2019.