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