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The United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon perform a routine as part of the Battle Color Ceremony at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Grey Field Feb. 7, 2012.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Ali Azimi

Battle Colors

7 Mar 2012 | Lance Cpl. Ali Azimi

Marines are known for their discipline, honor and tradition; traits that distinguish the Marine Corps from other services. This discipline and sense of tradition are also reasons that make the Marine Corps Color Detachment so renowned.

The detachment wowed an audience of service members, their families and hundreds of local school children at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Grey Field Tuesday during their annual worldwide tour.

“These Marines perform for hundreds of thousands of spectators annually, throughout our nation and abroad,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Miles, marketing and public relations chief, Battle Color Detachment. “They represent the Marine Corps in numerous ceremonies in the nation’s capital area, honoring distinct dignitaries and heads of state.”

The Battle Color Ceremony hosted Marines of the “The Commandant’s Own” Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, the Silent Drill Team and the official Color Guard of the Marine Corps.

Minutes before the show, the crowd waited in anticipation as restless children wandered around, and the adults made small talk.

“We get to do a performance for our brothers,” said Lance Cpl. Carlton Williams, rifle inspector, Silent Drill Platoon. “It boosts morale.”

As the Drum and Bugle Corps silently marched onto the field, a hush fell over the crowd.

The Marines, dressed in the special red and white uniforms worn exclusively by the “Commandant’s Own,” and their sister band, “President’s Own,” marched across the field led by their drum major.

The 80-man band is the only remaining full time drum and bugle corps in the Armed Forces.

They entertained the crowd with a variety of ceremonial military marches and surprising tunes, such as a medley from “Grease” and Latin beats with a twist added to them. They filled the area with the sound of music as they moved in different patterns and formations on the field.

“It was wonderful,” said Suzanne Arod, spectator, while she held on to her child who was trying to scurry away. “When the Drum and Bugle Corps came on, she couldn’t stop dancing.”

With the final note of the last song, the band stepped aside for the Silent Drill Platoon.

The crowd watched with curious eyes as the Marines in Dress Blue Uniforms marched across the field with their M1 Garand rifles in hand, each step in unison.

The group performs a special silent precision exhibition drill that is done entirely without verbal commands.

“The whole performance is a disciplined thing,” Williams said.  “If we ever mess up, we don’t lose bearing or anything like that, we just carry on.”

As the platoon spun their 10.5-pound rifles in the air, the crowd moved closer to the edge of their seats and applauded with the completion of each movement.

“It looked good,” said Lance Cpl. Alvaro Hernandez, United States Marine Corps Color Guard. “Their applause shows how much they like it.”

The event ended with the presentation of the National Ensign and Official Battle Colors of the Marine Corps, followed by a meet and greet between the crowd and the Battle Color Detachment.

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