MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. -- The Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment arrived on station Feb. 6 for training that will last until March 3.
The Battle Color Detachment is comprised of “The Commandant’s Own” Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, Silent Drill Platoon and the Marine Corps Color Guard from Marine Barracks 8th and I, Washington, D.C.
The time spent in Yuma marks the initial training for new members of the Battle Color Detachment.
The Silent Drill Platoon spends its time here molding new members, as well as reacquainting last year’s members with their rifles. The Marine Drum and Bugle Corps uses this time to learn the new music for the upcoming show season, while both the Drum and Bugle Corps and Silent Drill Platoon focus on perfecting their new drill movements.
The Silent Drill Platoon, known for performing without verbal commands and using operational 10.5 pound M-1 Garand rifle, with fixed bayonet, spends approximately 13 hours a day, seven days a week practicing, including physical training.
“We are here to get to the point where we can do a show in front of thousands of people,” said Cpl. Tim Maurer, drill master, Silent Drill Platoon. “While we are here in Yuma, the Marines don’t get much liberty because our purpose here is to train. Once we start the show season, the Marines will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy their surroundings.”
A Silent Drill School student, which are the Marines hoping to be a part of this years Silent Drill Platoon, endorsed the platoon’s vigorous training schedule.
“The training right now is very hard, but at the end, it’ll all be worth it,” said Lance Cpl. Daniel Anderson, student, Silent Drill School. “This is a very prestigious team and I feel lucky to have been presented with this opportunity.”
In order for new members to make the team, they have to perform well on what is known as “Challenge Day.” If the new members perform better than their peers, they will earn a spot on the 24-man Silent Drill Platoon.
“The day is a surprise so the new members never know when that day will come and are always ready,” said Maurer.
The Marines who perform the best on Challenge Day are chosen to be on the Silent Drill Platoon for the next year, added Maurer.
While the Silent Drill Platoon practices making their technique flawless, Drum and Bugle Corps also learns its new drill routine and music.
“We are here to get it all together,” said Sgt. Clint Owens, soprano bugler, Marine Drum and Bugle Corps. “First, we learn the new drill movements. Then, we learn the music for the show, which is followed by putting the music and marching together.”
The Marine Drum and Bugle Corps will be leaving the station March 3, when it begin its West Coast tour.
The Marine Drum and Bugle Corps’ first performance of the year will be Feb. 25 at the station’s 44th Annual Yuma Air Show.
“We are very excited to be opening for the air show,” said Owens. “Normally, we close a show and we are the last thing the crowd sees. So now, we will be setting the tone for the rest of the show for a change.”
The Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment will also perform their Battle Color Ceremony Feb. 28 on station at 3 p.m. and at Kofa High School at 7:30 p.m.