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Marine Barracks Washington, D.C.

8th & I

"Oldest Post of the Corps"
The Grind Has Begun

By Cpl. Robert Knapp | Marine Barracks | February 10, 2017

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Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.--The sound of metronome rings throughout the buildings of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. In the faint distance, one can hear the snap of M1 Garand Rifles and the roar of horns and drums from sunrise until well after sunset. Heads turn and eyes become fixated upon the United States Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment (BCD) as it has made its way, yet again, from the hallowed grounds of 8th and I to the sands of Yuma.

From Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., this unit is comprised of the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, “The Commandant’s Own,” the United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps, and the Marine Corps Color Guard.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the Marine Drum & Bugle Corps served as a means for commanders to communicate commands to Marines on the battlefield. Today this unit, and the BCD as a whole, serves as a universal symbol of the discipline, professionalism, and “Esprit de Corps” that United States Marines possess.

Each year, the BCD travels to Yuma to perfect their routines through rigorous training before kicking off their performance tours on the West and East Coasts.

This month-long training phase tests the Marines both mentally and physically.

“The training is very redundant and repetitive,” said Lance Cpl. William Morrison, first year Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon member. “It’s definitely more physically challenging then I had anticipated. It puts a lot of strain on your hands and wrists, but in the end that’s what will make us the best of the best.”

This is Morrison’s first trip to Yuma. After graduating Silent Drill School (SDS) in the fall, he is competing with other members for a spot on the 24-man rifle platoon.

Each training day for the platoons starts at 7 a.m. and goes into the late hours of the evening. Not only do they practice their drill routines, but continuous physical training (PT) sessions are stressed as well, serving to both enhance their precision drill and tighten their camaraderie.

Not every Marine’s day is over once they return to their barrack’s rooms.

“I’ll get back to my room at the end of the night and do some studying,” said Master Sgt. Michael Fulwood, uppers section head, Marine Drum & Bugle Corps. “I’ll take notes on what we can improve on and what needs to get done tomorrow.”

This trip will mark the Master Sergeant’s eighteenth Yuma training phase.

The training schedule is molded around a “crawl, walk, run” approach. Meaning, the training progresses as the days go on to bring all of the moving parts together to create the final drill routines consisting of calculated drill movements, music, and moving in unison, a difficult feat to accomplish.

“During the evening [block] we’ll put everything all together on the field to include music, marching, drums, and horns and all aspects of the show that we’ve learned up to that point,” said Fulwood.

This statement also rings true for the Drill Team and Color Guard as well, as they’ll put their routines to the test at the end of each day.

From now until early March, the Marines will continue the everyday grind of enduring the mental and physical rigors of training that will ultimately shape and mold their near flawless performances to come.

“I’m excited to showcase on tour the precision and ceremonial excellence that my platoon and the unit have to offer,” said Morrison.

 

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