Washington, D.C. --
Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., supports events throughout the National Capital Region every day. With thousands of ceremonies and training exercises every year, it takes a dedicated team to make sure everything goes smoothly.
The Marines in the operations section, known as the S-3, at the Barracks coordinate what Marines and materials go where on a daily basis at “The Oldest Post of the Corps.”
“We do everything from funerals for generals, to color guards, to coordinating the Silent Drill Platoon’s performances,” said Sgt. Katie Maynard, Navy District Washington/Marine District Washington liaison. “Anything that the Barracks has going on, we manage it.”
Maynard, a native of Hancock, Mich., said that every Marine Corps unit has an S-3 section However, what sets the Barracks S-3 apart is it has an organic funeral director and drill master, and it maintains a close relationship with other services’ ceremonial units.
She said the reason for the additional billets is because of the nearly 2,000 funerals and joint-service events that the Barracks supports every year and the fact that drill is paramount in a ceremonial unit.
Most people know the Barracks for the Friday Evening Parades that happen throughout the summer.
Everyone notices the Marines who perform, but there are dozens of Marines behind the scenes making the parade happen. The operations section coordinates all of them.
During parade days, Maynard said S-3 Marines usually come to work at 6:30 a.m. and start with a section meeting. From there, the deck crew sets up the flags and marcher’s boards and clears the parade area.
She said S-3 also runs the practice phases before the parade with the operations officer-in-charge, operations chief and drill master.
The Marines are also busy during parades.
“We are on standby, blocking the [walkways] and watching for Marines falling out,” said Maynard. “Those are my Marines in the background with radios waiting to send in gear or get a Marine out if need be.”
Once the ceremony has finished, these Marines are called on yet again.
“Our parade days are long,” said Maynard. “The Marines don’t leave until about [11 p.m.] after everything has been picked up off the parade deck and put back where it needs to go.”
Maynard said keeping the Barracks running in the direction it is supposed to go is challenging, but they help each other to succeed.
“Everybody does their part, whether you’re marching for two hours or behind the scenes,” said Maynard. “It’s hard however you look at it, but that’s what makes this place great and our shows perfect. It’s everybody’s time and effort put into it.”