All together now

Team Goodfellow members await the next drill demonstration in the High Bay at the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, June 22, 2015. Goodfellow hosts the drill competitions quarterly. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson/Released)

Team Goodfellow members await the next drill demonstration in the High Bay at the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, June 22, 2015. Goodfellow hosts the drill competitions quarterly. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Matthew R. Ignacio, 316th TRS student and black corps commander, salutes to signify the end of the exhibition drill demonstration in the High Bay at the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, June 22, 2015. Ignacio worked with the other Airman to orchestrate a routine that won first place. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Matthew R. Ignacio, 316th TRS student and black corps commander, salutes to signify the end of the exhibition drill demonstration in the High Bay at the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, June 22, 2015. Ignacio worked with the other Airman to orchestrate a routine that won first place. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Brandon O. Agyemang, 316th Training Squadron student, stands with the guide-on awaiting the start of the drill competition in the High Bay at the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, June 22, 2015. The drill competition featured three teams competing against each other in two events. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Brandon O. Agyemang, 316th Training Squadron student, stands with the guide-on awaiting the start of the drill competition in the High Bay at the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, June 22, 2015. The drill competition featured three teams competing against each other in two events. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt Curtrell L. Gibson, 17th Training Wing Airman Leadership School instructor, salutes a drill lead from the 316th Training Squadron signifying the end of the regulation drill circuit inside the High Bay at the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, June 22, 2015. The 316th TRS drill team won both the regulation drill and the exhibition drill circuits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt Curtrell L. Gibson, 17th Training Wing Airman Leadership School instructor, salutes a drill lead from the 316th Training Squadron signifying the end of the regulation drill circuit inside the High Bay at the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, June 22, 2015. The 316th TRS drill team won both the regulation drill and the exhibition drill circuits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman of the 316th Training Squadron black rope corps stand in formation during a drill competition in the High Bay at the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, June 22, 2015. Goodfellow hosts the drill competitions quarterly. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman of the 316th Training Squadron black rope corps stand in formation during a drill competition in the High Bay at the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, June 22, 2015. Goodfellow hosts the drill competitions quarterly. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman of the 316th Training Squadron black rope corps celebrate after winning the drill competition in both the exhibition and regulation drill circuits in the High Bay at the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, June 22, 2015. The 316th TRS competed against both the 315th Training Squadrons and the 312th Training Squadrons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson)

U.S. Air Force Airman of the 316th Training Squadron black rope corps celebrate after winning the drill competition in both the exhibition and regulation drill circuits in the High Bay at the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, June 22, 2015. The 316th TRS competed against both the 315th Training Squadrons and the 312th Training Squadrons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

Synchronization comes in many forms. It can be an important component in life, in which everything happens seamlessly and falls into place. In the absence of unison, life can become chaotic, unpredictable and even dangerous.

Drill teams are unison perpetuated, and the 316th Training Squadron drill team re-embodies it. The entire art of drill relies on every member of the team to be on beat at all times. They function as one. They operate as one and they perform awe-inspiring acts as one.

“Everyone is different and everyone learns differently,” said Airman 1st Class Matthew R. Ignacio, 316th TRS student and black rope corps commander. “My goal is to make sure everyone is on the same page instead of moving on and letting people get confused.”

Ignacio leads his team in exhibition drill by conducting the cadence call and other commands, setting the beat for them to follow.

“It wasn’t all me, it was a team effort,” said Ignacio. “I urged everyone to put in ideas and we just pulled pieces that we thought looked good and put it all together.”

On June 22, they competed in the quarterly Goodfellow drill competition winning in the regulation and exhibition drill categories. In regulation drill, the team follows basic marching commands and focuses not only on following the command, but also on executing it with skill in unison. Exhibition drill is where almost anything goes and the team is limited only by their imagination.

In exhibition drill, synchronicity is key.

“We’re a really close tight knit group,” said Ignacio. “We’ve always understood and we’re there for each other through the whole thing. We try to stress the core values and help each other out, be wingmen, both in and out of uniform.”

The team will sometimes separate into shapes, weaving through each other and operating not as one group, but as two or even three. All it takes is just one misstep and the whole thing comes off beat. If this happens, the seamlessness is lost, so the team spends months and months practicing, going over the drills hundreds and hundreds of times until the performance is second nature.

“We started practicing and putting the team together about three months ago, and from there we started to develop each Airman and let them know what’s expected of them and how to be the best black rope airman that they can be,” said Ignacio.

Ignacio demonstrates the leadership qualities revered within the Air Force: tenacity, will-to-do, patience, care and the ability to listen.

Learning to operate as a team is more than winning trophies and looking cool. It translates into a cooperative nature, into learning how to be a piece of a whole and knowing one’s place and assisting to get the mission done. Because, in the end, that’s what the military is about: being a team.