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Battle Color Detachment readies to kick off new season

By Lance Cpl. Matthew Rainey | | February 19, 2004

For the past two weeks, the station has been host to training not typically seen on any military post in the nation.

The Battle Color Detachment, comprised of the Battle Color Guard, Drum and Bugle Corps and Silent Drill Platoon, has been conducting its annual three week preparation for an international performance schedule.

"Every year we come to Yuma for a three-week workup," said Staff Sgt. Justin Bakewell, public affairs chief, Battle Color Detachment.

The detachment's time spent in Yuma is extremely valuable.

"After our three weeks here we embark on our tour. We train when we can here and there, but never again do we come together as an entire unit unless we're doing performances," said Bakewell. "The weather is the main reason we come out here. In (Washington) D.C., there's three or four inches of snow on the ground, so we can't be drilling out there. We could do it at 8th and I, but it's just too cold to do anything effective with the instruments.
Practice for the detachment is very time consuming.
"You can see them drilling until (7 p.m. or 8 p.m.). The whole unit is very professional. They work very hard," said Bakewell.
Long hours with the same group of people can either cause problems, or it can cause a group to grow closer.
"We're as tight as they come," said Cpl. Jason Cruce, Silent Drill Platoon rifle inspector. "This is my fourth time here, and this is the best progressed platoon I've seen."
"We're one of the most well rehearsed units the Marine Corps has to offer," said Staff Sgt. William Rulapaugh, Drum and Bugle Corps.
Once the detachment starts touring, the pace will pick up even more.
"We're doing two shows a day. We're doing 18 shows on our west coast tour. Our first show is Feb. 24 and our last show is Mar. 14," said Bakewell. "We probably do 40 Battle Color Detachment shows. When we're not doing shows as a complete unit, we do shows separately, too.

The detachment's first shows of the year are here on station at 3 p.m. on Feb. 24, and a public show later that evening at Kofa High School at 7:30 p.m.

"The ceremony is all about the colors. Everybody likes to focus on the Silent Drill Platoon or the Drum and Bugle Corps," said Bakewell. "But the colors we carry are for the entire Marine Corps. Every award and every campaign is represented on the organizational colors we carry."

Constantly in the public eye and representing some of the best attributes of the Marine Corps, the Battle Color Detachment seems like the ideal recruiting tool.

"The whole unit is definitely a recruiting tool, but that's not our main focus. Our main focus is representing the Marine Corps and the Marines that are forward deployed that civilians might not be thinking about," said Bakewell.

Members of the Battle Color Detachment have no doubt that they can reach audiences.

"I've got a really positive feeling that we'll connect very easily with every audience," said Rulapaugh.

"We're going to give everybody a show," said Cruce.

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