The Marine Corps Color Guard was honored to have the opportunity to mentor a group of Manassas Young Marines in ceremonial drill at the Barracks, July 18.
The Marines routinely perform for color guards within the Corps, but this was their first time teaching the Young Marines who represent the future of our Corps. The Color Guard worked with the children and teenagers individually, coaching them on the unique drill movements of the Marine Corps Color Guard.
The Young Marines arrived in well-pressed, old-fashioned Marine woodland utility uniforms and shiny black boots, ready to meet the Marine Corps Color Guard. Sgt. Maj. Sylvester Daniels, MBW sergeant major, noticed the clean appearance and model conduct of the group. “Look at you guys!” Daniels exclaimed, “Even your pockets are pressed!”
“They had discipline and bearing, and followed orders like any Marine unit would,” said Color Guard member Lance Cpl. Robert Clough. “They were snapped to. They were courteous, very respectful, and willing to learn.”
The adult Marines towered over their younger counterparts, many of whom were less than five feet tall and younger than 12 years old. Most of the Young Marines were new to the organization and had never practiced colors before.
Young Marine Staff Sgt. Anthony Maenza, Company First Sergeant, was one of a handful of youngsters who had experience in colors ceremonies. Maenza appreciated the willingness of the Color Guard to spend time with him and his unit. The Young Marines were divided into two groups, allowing them to drill with both rifles and colors.
“I think it’s an honor for the Color Guard to teach us how to drill,” said Maenza, who plans on joining the Corps when he turns 18.
The Young Marines then assembled in a tight formation and marched from place-to-place. Sgt. Scott Jewel, 32nd Color Sergeant of the Marine Corps, and Lance Cpl. Michael Lesiewicz led the Young Marines through the drills, helping them into oversized colors slings, most of which hung down past their waists. After adjusting and tightening the slings, the Young Marines were ready to drill. They practiced formations and learned how to hold the colors.
Though they were new to MBW ceremonial drill, the Young Marines added some unique rifle drill movements to the standard routine. Lance Cpl. Jake Summerton, who instructed rifle drill, lined up with Maenza to perform right shoulder arms, a standard movement for the color guard.
Summerton was pleasantly surprised when the Young Marines performed the move differently from Barracks’ drill, incorporating a rifle salute before cutting. Summerton had never seen the move performed that way.
After the Young Marines finished practicing with colors and rifles, members of the Color Guard took them on a tour of their unit hallway, which is decorated with photos of famous ceremonies of the past.
“It was an honor to teach these Young Marines drill,” said Lance Cpl. Robert Clough. “It will motivate them later on to join the Corps, and give them a better outlook.”
The discipline and dedication of these Young Marines will prove invaluable as they grow up, eventually taking their rightful place as the heart and soul of the U.S. Marine Corps of tomorrow.