Photo Information

Marines with Marine Barracks Washington perform during the Sunset Parade at the Marine Corps War Memorial, Arlington, Va., Aug. 12, 2015. The hosting official for the Sunset Parade was Sgt. Maj. Ronald Green, sergeant major of the Marine Corps and the guest of honor was Hollister Petraeus, Assistant Director of the Consumer Financial. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Skye Davis/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Skye Davis

NCO Sunset Parade: Leading From the Front

14 Aug 2015 | Cpl. Skye Davis Marine Barracks

Since September 1956, ceremonial marching and musical units from Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., have been paying tribute to those who’s “uncommon valor was a common virtue” by presenting Sunset Parades in the shadow of the 32-foot high figures of the United States Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va.


Throughout the summers, Marines with the “Corps Oldest Post” perform during the Tuesday Sunset Parades which are regularly staffed with officers and staff non-commissioned officers from the Barracks. However, during the final parade on Aug. 11 that wrapped up the 2015 Tuesday parade season, NCOs held all the key billets such as platoon commanders for A and B Companies., Drum Major for the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and five marching positions in the parade staff to include the parade commander, adjutant, flanking officer, senior and junior positions.


“The purpose of having an NCO staff is to prove that NCOs are capable of stepping up and leading from the front, just like their SNCOs and officers,” said Sgt. Tyler Holley, NCO parade commander and B Co. platoon sergeant. There is always friendly competition to see who marches better.


This final parade is unique because sergeants and corporals fill key billets on the parade deck usually staffed by officers and staff non-commissioned officers.


The members of the staff are required to be an NCO and to be able to sync as a staff when marching, said Cpl. Jourdan Webster, staff flanking officer and Alpha Co. clerk.  “This year we have set the bar really high, and we are striving to reach it.  We've been practicing three days a week since the staff was announced in April.”


NCO leadership is vital to the success of the Marine Corps worldwide. Marines appointed under NCOs look for guidance through experience and knowledge that those who have gone before them have gained.  This leadership is demonstrated the moment the NCO staff marches on the parade deck.


“An NCO staff gives Marines who are NCOs the opportunity to show personal initiative and competency of the ceremonial duties of Marine Barracks Washington, D.C.,” said Cpl. Guy Barnes, NCO Drum Major, D&B Co. “It’s an opportunity that happens only once a year on one of final sunset parades.

The NCO staff parade shows that Marines at all rank levels at MBW strive for excellence in whatever the mission requires. NCOs fulfill a significant part of their duty by emulating the great qualities of their leadership.


“The parade was executed flawlessly and it was exactly what I expected in the beginning when the staff was selected,” said Holley.


NCOs will continue to strive for excellence no matter the clime and place. They will remain always faithful.