MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. --
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. (Feb. 15, 2018) – “The ceremonial music, display of drill proficiency, and the expertise that goes into the ceremonies honors the Battle Color of the Marine Corps,” stated Colorado Springs, Colorado, native U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Kenneth Newton, the 37th Color Sergeant of the Marine Corps.
Each year, the Battle Color Detachment (BCD) travels worldwide to demonstrate the historic pride of the Marine Corps through fine music and ceremonial drill. The BCD consists of “The Commandant’s Own” U.S. Marine Corps Drum & Bugle Corps, the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, and The Official Marine Corps Color Guard. The Battle Color Ceremony shows the discipline, professionalism, and “Esprit de Corps” in the Marine Corps.
The Official Marine Corps Color Guard, also known as the “Commandant’s Four,” is tasked with presenting the National Flag and the Marine Corps Battle Color at ceremonies to render appropriate military honors and to display the Marine Corps’ respected warfighting history.
The Color Sergeant of the Marine Corps serves as the senior Sergeant of the Marine Corps. There is only one Color Sergeant of the Marine Corps at a time and they usually retire from the billet after two to three years. The Color Sergeant is responsible for carrying the National Flag in ceremonies and is entrusted with carrying the Presidential Colors for all official White House ceremonies.
Newton, as the Color Sergeant of the Marine Corps, believes that the Color Sergeant is also responsible for showing the public the past, present and future of the Marine Corps.
“We can’t live in the past but the past lives through us and that’s the job for the Color Sergeant of the Marine Corps to communicate,” emphasized Newton.
The components of the BCD all represent the Marine Corps in their own ways and are all a part of telling the Corps’ story.
“Just knowing that what you’re doing is a direct impression of the Marine Corps to the public, it sets a crazy amount of nerves upon your shoulders but it’s an awesome feeling,” stated Grand Junction, Colorado, native and U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Ryan Watkins, the Number One Rifle Inspector for the Silent Drill Platoon.
From the performers to the audience, it’s no surprise that everyone is positively affected by the ceremonies. Whether it’s entertaining eyes or touching hearts, the audience appreciates the ceremony and the BCD loves performing it.
“Having the opportunity to shake a Veteran’s hand while he’s crying and saying ‘You guys are awesome,’ and he’s like a three time Purple Heart recipient, that’s crazy,” explained Watkins. “Being able to touch people like that, is amazing.”
Watkins said the BCD aims to speak to people through their ceremonies. They want the world to know the importance and history of the Marine Corps.
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Kyle Smith, a Chandler, Arizona, native and a baritone section leader in the U.S. Marine Corps Drums & Bugle Corps, said, “Our whole job is to represent, in a clean-cut and ceremonial fashion, the Marines who are in the fight overseas.”
Smith explains how important it is for the world to know what the Marine Corps is about and what they have to offer.
“The ceremonies show the taxpayers what they’re paying for,” stated Smith. “We’re here for you, in service of you.”
The Marines put on a perfect show that requires plenty of training beforehand. Besides performing weekly in Washington, D.C., the Marines conduct training at MCAS Yuma to prepare for their West Coast tour.
“We come to Yuma for the good weather.” stated Watkins.
The Marines dedicate early mornings and long nights of vigorous training to perfect every movement.
Newton said, “We get to focus on the mission: telling our story through drill and music.”
From the intense training to putting on a perfect show, the BCD demonstrates the fighting spirit, pride, and the proficiency in all United States Marines.