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Marines with the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon perform their trademark rifle spin March 9, 2011 at the Combat Center’s Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field. The Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment also included the Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps, as well as the Corps’ color guard.

Photo by Cpl. M. C. Nerl

Battle Colors dazzle Combat Center

11 Mar 2011 | Cpl. M. C. Nerl

Marines with the Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps, known as the “Commandant’s Own,” and the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon from Marine Barracks 8th and I, in Washington, D.C., showcased their world-famous drill talents, as well as musical performances, during the Battle Colors Ceremony at the Combat Center’s Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field.

Installation Marines and sailors, along with family members, local area elementary students and retirees, gathered for the annual event.

Gunnery Sgt. Keith Martinez, the Drum and Bugle Corps drum major, said the setting here couldn’t be better for a great performance.

“The performance was great; the weather here is perfect for performing,” said the Kansas City, Mo., native. “The Marines performed very well today. We couldn’t have asked for more.”

Thanks to their yearly January training at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., the band, along with the Silent Drill Platoon, is always ready for desert performances by the time their touring season starts in the early part of the year.

Corporal Oscar Franquez, the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon’s guide, said he draws inspiration not just from putting on shows, but especially from doing it aboard the Combat Center.

“I feel it’s a privilege to do what I do, and to come here,” said Franquez, from Santa Clarita, Calif. “This is where Marines train before they go overseas, and it’s really just great to come and perform for our fellow Marines who are getting ready to leave.”

“It’s a privilege to do our job, to represent those Marines who are out, fighting for this country’s freedom,” Franquez continued. “We all love doing what we do. It’s almost that it’s our job to remind the public that there’re Marines out there making sacrifices for them and keeping them safe.”

The performance was a first for Pfc. Jake Velazquez, a student attached to the Combat Center’s Marine Corps Communication-electronics School. He said he couldn’t have enjoyed it more.

“Both shows were awesome,” said the Phoenix native. “I remember hearing about the Silent Drill Team, watching videos on YouTube when I was a poolee. It’s something I’ve been waiting to see in person, and definitely wasn’t a disappointment.”

The Battle Color Detachment is slated to appear at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif., next and will continue to tour all the Corps’ installations, before returning to the Combat Center again next year. Check out for more on their 2011 tour dates.

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