Photo Information

Marine from Marine Barracks Washington perform a pass in review during the Battle Color Ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., Aug. 25.

Photo by Cpl. Jacob H. Harrer

Battle Color Detachment brings Esprit de Corps to ‘Low Country'

26 Aug 2009 | Cpl. Jacob H. Harrer

Units from Marine Barracks Washington travelled to South Carolina to bring the Battle Color Ceremony to audiences at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, Aug. 25 and 26.

The Marines, known collectively as the Battle Color Detachment and comprised of the Silent Drill Platoon, U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, and the U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard, performed a musical concert, drill routine, and traditional pass in review, displaying the discipline and professionalism of the Marine Corps for servicemembers and local citizens.

The detachment first performed at Beaufort, where around 2,000 spectators gathered on the athletic field of MCAS headquarters. The air station, known as “Fightertown” for its F/A-18 Hornet squadrons, has a slogan, “The noise you hear is the sound of freedom.”  That evening, the noise of bugles blaring and rifles striking the ground brought applause, laughter, and cheers from the audience.

“The best part about this is the community gets to come out here and see the precision of the Silent Drill Platoon and the Marines of ‘eighth and eye’… the spit and shine of the Marine Corps,” said Col. John R. Snider, MCAS Beaufort commanding officer.

Marie Capotosto has been watching the Battle Color Ceremony for decades and was thrilled to be able to see the detachment perform at both Beaufort and Parris Island. Her father, a veteran of the Silent Drill Platoon, introduced her to the parades of Marine Barracks.

“Seeing them out there brings me pure joy and honor,” said Capotosto. “There’s nothing like it.”

After the show, guests were invited to meet the Marines out on the field. Among the bustling fans, Marines could be found posing for photos and autographing posters.

Some Marines of the Silent Drill Platoon gave drill advice to cadets of a local NJROTC unit. The cadets were inspired by the performance, and many of them were excited for the chance to enlist in the Marine Corps when they graduate high school.

“I love how they can work together and stay as one,” said Cadet James Coast, South Effingham NJROTC. “I wish we could do that!”

After a successful performance at Beaufort, the Marines travelled to Parris Island, where a sea of drill instructors and recruits assembled on the parade deck to watch the ceremony.

Thousands of recruits sat cross-legged on foam mats while drill instructors hovered around, ensuring the recruits maintained their discipline throughout the show.

The heavy humidity and 90 degree weather didn’t stop the Marines of the detachment from putting on a spectacular performance.

“This is one of the hottest days I can remember here,” said Sgt. James Foley, mellophone bugle section leader. “It was tough, but I’m glad we were able to give a good show for these recruits, because they definitely need some motivation for what they’re going through.”

Col. Rickey L. Grabowski, Chief of Staff of MCRD Parris Island, first saw the Battle Color Ceremony in 1976 as a recruit at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. Now as the hosting official of the ceremony, Grabowski still remembered how impressive the Marines were.

 “These guys never let us down,” said Grabowski. “For the future Marines, seeing them is a great inspiration.”

For the drill instructors, the ceremony gave the recruits a view of the Marine Corps outside of Parris Island.

“These guys show the recruits the finest America has to offer,” said Sgt. David Kangethe, a three-year drill instructor with 2nd Battalion, Fox Company, Platoon 2074. “I like when the Silent Drill Platoon comes out. It shows discipline and what they can achieve.”

The performance motivated some platoons to give their best effort at their initial drill evaluations, said Pvt. William Doss, a recruit from 1st Battalion, Alpha Company, Platoon 1070. The ceremony was a good way to take a break from the usual training routine and motivate the recruits.

“Seeing them gives this recruit a great sense of pride and honor,” said Doss. “It’s an amazing feeling to be a part of this in a couple of weeks.”

The Marines helped share the values of the Corps with civilians, servicemembers, veterans and recruits alike. The audiences walked away with a memory they will remember for years to come.