Director honored; 'Commandant's Own' plays tribute

1 Apr 2004 | GySgt Kent Flora

With the sky shedding it's tears as a backdrop, tears fell on blue red uniforms as tribute was paid to the Director. The Director. For many, it would seem, the word means principle leader—and that is true enough. For the United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps however, the word director had meant Colonel Truman W. Crawford and that name is synonymous with a musical legacy for the last four decades of the 20th century.Crawford directed the Marine D&B for 25 years and now as a salute to the man who started his career with the Corps in 1967 as arranger/instructor, "The Commandant's Own"—Marine Drum & Bugle Corps headquartered here paid homage to their own, their comrade, their director—their friend.Nearly 50 members of the present D&B, who recall Crawford's tenacity for perfection, honored Crawford at his graveside in Arlington National Cemetery with a service, the performance of two selections written by the colonel, a wreath-laying and "Taps." The tribute comes one year after his death and on his birthday to celebrate his contribution to country and Corps."The purpose of having this ceremony is to honor the distinguished service Col. Crawford made to his country, the Marine Barracks and to "The Commandant's Own," said Colonel Daniel P. O'Brien, commanding officer of Marine Barracks Washington."What a journey it has been," said the 64-year-old Endicott, N.Y. native upon his retirement for the Marine Corps in 1998. A lifetime of memories and people who had shaped the self-proclaimed "skinny kid from upstate New York," had a definite impact on the Marines and musical community that was his life for more than 30 years."Today the Drum & Bugle Corps paid tribute to the man solely responsible for keeping our art form alive," said CWO3 Brian Dix, Director & Executive Officer, The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps. "He witnessed dozens of field drum & bugle corps in the armed forces dissolve due to manpower issues during his forty years of active service. Col. Truman W. Crawford is "The Commandant’s Own." The defining moment, the pathway less traveled was made clear to the 17-year-old when, after seeing a performance of the United States Air Force Drum and Bugle Corps, he auditioned and was accepted into the musical unit and within two years was appointed the musical director. At the ripe-old-age of 23, Crawford was promoted to Master Sergeant and spent the next few years completing six tours in England and Europe and two extensive tours in the Far East.After his decade-long stint in the Air Force, manpower constraints shortened the life of the Air Force Drum and Bugle Corps. And, the Director found himself operating a music store and arranging music for a civilian drum and bugle corps--winning numerous accolades and awards throughout the United States and Canada.It is only fitting that The Director, born April 1, 1934 would lead the corps established that same year, and would receive a place of honor in the Drum Corps Hall of Fame, recognizing lifetime achievement in music. With tears dried and instruments polished, the Marines of "The Commandant’s Own" continue the musical heritage established by the tall, slender man known as "The Director."