More than 400 Marines and guests, including Gen. James T. Conway, 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps gathered at Marine Barracks Washington, Sept. 14, to dedicate Colonel Truman W. Crawford Hall, the new headquarters for the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps.
Between narration and speeches, the D&B performed some of Crawford’s compositions, including his most popular song, a rendition of “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Conway and Lucille Crawford, Truman’s wife, cut the red ribbon in front of the hall to formalize the dedication.
The dedication of Crawford Hall is the culmination of a five-year effort, starting with Gen. Michael Hagee, 33rd Commandant of the Marine Corps. While touring the Barracks in 2003, Hagee and his wife visited the attic of building eight, where drummers were learning music on table tops. The unit was crammed into only 4,000 square feet of space. The conditions were unacceptable for him, said Lt. Col. Brent Harrison, D&B commanding officer.
“From that point on the weight of the Marine Corps was thrown into creating and establishing a place that we could actually call home and be very proud of,” added Harrison.
Five years and $7.5 million later, Crawford Hall provides 20,000 square feet for the unit’s rehearsal areas, administrative offices, audiovisual rooms, and classrooms.
Crawford Hall is named after the longest serving and most influential commanding officer and director of the D&B, who passed away on March 3, 2003.
Crawford was born one of seven children during the great depression. He quickly learned how to play many instruments and began composing music while in high school. He enlisted for duty with the Air Force Drum and Bugle Corps and reached the rank of master sergeant before being discharged from active duty due to force reductions in 1963. Four years later, he was selected by Gen. Wallace M. Green, Jr., 23rd Commandant of the Marine Corps, for duty as the arranger and instructor for the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps.
As a Marine, Crawford worked his way up through the enlisted ranks before being selected as a warrant officer. He was later commissioned as a regular officer and retired from the Marine Corps in 1998 at the rank of colonel. He passed away March 3, 2003.
Crawford’s lifetime of service helped bring the D&B into the national spotlight at a time when most militaries were retiring their drum and bugle corps units. When he first arrived at the unit in 1967, the unit was a group of hack musicians waiting for a cause, said Harrison.
Those words may have been a little strong, said Conway.
“In any event they certainly toured the world and they made a name for themselves and really for our Corps,” he added.
After decades of performing in the spotlight, Crawford knew nine U.S. presidents. His connections gave the D&B many high profile performances, including the Camp David Accords of 1979.
“His many contributions to the world of marching music and to a grateful nation cannot be measured,” said Harrison.
His influence is still felt today, as the D&B continues to perform his music at dozens of ceremonies each year. With the dedication of Crawford Hall, he will join John Phillip Sousa as a musical icon of the Marine Corps, forever enshrined at the Barracks for generations of Marines to remember.