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By Lance Cpl. Brendan Roethel, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort
The Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment, comprised of the Drum and Bugle Corps, the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon and the Color Guard performed aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, March 18.
The ceremony was held in honor of all former prisoners of war, service members still unaccounted for, and the families of those who have made extreme or the ultimate sacrifices for their country. At the start of the ceremony, prisoners of war former Navy Capt. Thomas Latendresse and former Army Staff Sgt. Robert Waldrop were introduced as distinguished guests. After the introduction, Col. Peter Buck, the Air Station commanding officer, and Sgt. Maj. KeCia Jordan, the Air Station sergeant major, led everyone in a moment of silence to honor all fallen comrades.
The ceremony opened with the presentation of the colors by the Marine Corps Color Guard. The Color Guard is comprised of the color sergeant, the Marine Corps color bearer, and the left and right riflemen. The Color Guard includes the National Colors, carried by the color sergeant of the Marine Corps and is the only official Battle Color of the Corps. The Battle Colors bear the same 54 streamers and silver bands authorized for the Marine Corps as a whole. The streamers represent U.S. and foreign unit awards as well as those periods of service, expeditions, and campaigns in which the Marine Corps participated in from the American Revolution to today.
Next, the "Commandant’s Own" Drum and Bugle Corps, which was formed in 1934, marched in front of the audience, filling the room with traditional marching music. The United States Marine Corps Drum & Bugle Corps is comprised of 85 Marines recruited from various civilian drum corps’, marching bands and other musical units within the Marine Corps. During the ceremony they displayed their musical talents while performing contemporary songs and traditional marching music in their program "Music in Motion."
After the "Commandant’s Own" performed, the Silent Drill Platoon quietly marched in front of the audience, with the occasional loud clap of their rifles echoing as they twirled their weapons in unison, demonstrating their flawless drill movements. The Marines executed a series of calculated drill movements and precise handling of their hand-polished M1 Garand rifles with fixed bayonets. The routine concluded with a unique rifle inspection sequence punctuated by elaborate rifle spins and tosses.
"Being able to come out here and watch this ceremony was motivating," said Retired Sgt. Maj. Dwayne Farr, a Marine instructor for the Whale Branch Early College High School JROTC. "I loved being able to sit alongside Marines and my students during this ceremony. It was amazing; words cannot describe how inspirational the performances, especially from the silent drill team, were for me."
Close order drill originated on the battlefield, but serves in different capacities today. The Marine Corps has used drill movements to develop discipline, order, precise unit movement, response to orders and teach leaders how to assert proper commands.
"I love being able to perform for Marines," said Lance Cpl. Jonathan Hernandez, a member of the Silent Drill Platoon. "I know I can’t break my bearing, but when I hear their cheers and OOH-RAHs, I want to smile. But overall, there is nothing more fulfilling than representing those that sacrificed everything for our nation. That is what I am really here to do."
With a reputation of perfection throughout the world, the silent drill platoon reminds onlookers of the proud esprit de Corps found in Marines serving all around the globe.