Photo Information

The U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard stand at ease following a performance at Grand Terrace High School in Colton, Ca., March 10, 2014. These Marines perform on various installations and schools on the East Coast and West Coast Tour in preparation for the annual parade season at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. (Official Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Dan Hosack/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Dan Hosack

Marine Barracks Washington polishes skills on Tour

28 Mar 2014 | Cpl. Dan Hosack

As parade season nears, an urgent feeling sweeps over Marine Barracks Washington, D.C.

Every summer, the “Oldest Post of the Corps” showcases Marine Corps excellence through drill and music throughout the National Capitol Region with its Friday Evening and Tuesday Sunset Parades.

With all of the companies stationed at the Barracks preparing to make this parade season the best one yet, the U.S Marine Corps Color Guard, U.S. Marine Drum & Bugle Corps and U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon left D.C. for most of the winter.
            
They were hundreds of miles away in Yuma, Az., training and performing as the elements that make up the Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment on the East Coast and West Coast Tour.
             
The journey began in February when the BCD flew to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma to train. After Yuma, then they traveled around and performed on the West Coast and East Coast.
             
“It was very fast-paced. You got into a routine where everyone was comfortable at that fast pace and we got the job done at 110 percent,” said Lance Cpl. Luke Deal, Silent Drill Platoon member.
               
In Yuma, the Marines’ days were focused on learning and perfecting their performance. Deal said they were serious while training but made sure to keep the mood light.
               
The Drum & Bugle Corps practiced at an athletic field about a quarter of a mile from where they slept. The Color Guard trained in the grass behind their barracks, and the Silent Drill Platoon used a nearby field to drill.
            
“We worked on our music basically every day until we left for Yuma where we applied that music to learning our drill show,” said Lance Cpl. Brian Chapman, bugle player.
            
The BCD has traveled to Yuma since the 1970s to train. There’s little to no rain and the daytime temperatures regularly reach the same mark as Washington, D.C. in the summer.
            
“There is no spot to drill in the shade and Yuma is cooking,” said Deal. “Sunscreen and water were the most used accessories during our three weeks in Yuma.”
            
After the weeks of training, the Marines focused on performing for crowds.
            
The BCD stopped at 10 locations along the East and West Coast, performing for thousands of spectators.
            
The hour-long performance consisted of six songs by the Drum & Bugle Corps, a performance by the Silent Drill Platoon, the presentation of the U.S. and Marine Corps colors and a pass-in-review for the reviewing official of the show. 
            
“The first performance was nauseating,” said Deal. “I was freaking out because I didn’t remember [the drill movements], but muscle memory took over.”

While touring, Marines said they had opportunities to make memories that will stand out for the rest of their lives.
            
Deal said that his favorite part of the tour were meet and greets at the end of shows.
            
“You got to meet so many new people, especially Marine Corps veterans,” said Deal. “The Corps is what it is because of them and it reminds us we have big shoes to fill.”
             
Now he says they are ready to perform all summer long for the guests who come to the Barracks on Friday evenings, or to the Tuesday Sunset Parade at the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va.
             
“On the tours, we were a little rusty at first but by the time parade season comes we’ll be locked in,” said Deal.
              
For more information about Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., parades, visit www.barracks.marines.mil.