MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- The Combat Center welcomed the United States Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment, Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., March 9 at the base’s Parade Deck for a ceremonial performance by the elite members of “The Commandant’s Own,” the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, the United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon and the Official Color Guard of the Marine Corps.
More than 500 students from Condor and Palm Vista Elementary schools, and a local Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps attended the performance.
The ceremony, which was marked by strong winds, opened with “The Commandant’s Own” program called “Music in Motion,” which included six different songs that ranged from traditional Marine Corps medleys to recent hits from Jonathan Larson’s award-winning musical “Rent.”
The Marines executed choreographed drill movements in coordination with their performance of the songs, demonstrating one of the most impressive skills of all Marine Corps bands.
The Commandant’s Own closed their performance with the national march of the United States of America, “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” then stepped aside for the Silent Drill Platoon to take center stage for its performance.
Comprised of 24 carefully-selected and highly-trained Marines, the Silent Drill Platoon performed the drill sequence without cadence or verbal commands. Each Marine performed carrying an M-1 Garand rifle with a fixed bayonet, which together weigh 10-and-a-half pounds.
The Marines fearlessly tossed and spun the rifles in the air in close proximity to each other, creating a unique and suspenseful visual effect for first-time and recurring viewers.
“Just watching it made me feel good to be a Marine,” said Lance Cpl. Curtis T. Brown Jr., a Baltimore native. “You forget your sense of pride when you’re working everyday, but seeing the way they are on point and put on a great show reminds you.
“The Marine Corps is looked at as a combat-oriented branch, but the band and the Silent Drill Platoon shows how we honor our traditions,” Brown continued.
The Color Guard of the Marine Corps presented the official battle colors, with 54 streamers and silver bands representing the military campaigns Marines have participated in from the Revolutionary War to the present conflict in Iraq. Palms, oak leaf clusters and stars decorate the colors, representing more than 400 awards and campaigns throughout Marine Corps history.
The ceremony closed with the pass and review, reviewed by Brig. Gen. Douglas M. Stone, Combat Center commanding general.
As the Silent Drill Platoon made their way off the parade deck, the Marines stopped to talk to Palm Vista students.
Lance Corporals Michael Morales, Josh Lewthold and Robert Stukel, took their time to let the students take a closer look at their weapons and answer any and all questions.
“We practice all day, every day,” said Lewthold, a Reno, Nev., native. “Drilling is what we do, and all we do.”
The Marines let the students carefully feel the weight of the rifle, having them pick the rifle up with one hand.
“Cool,” said Andrew Kennedy, a 10-year-old, fifth-grade student at Palm Vista Elementary School, as he held Stukel’s bayonet in his hand.
These Marines know it’s more than just a show, their job can inspire young children to make the best out of life, explained Stukel.
For more history and information on the United States Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment, log on to http://www.mbw.usmc.mil.