WASHINGTON —Marines of Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., showcased their musical ballads and precision drill movements during the Friday Evening Noncommissioned Officer’s Parade at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., Aug. 19, 2016. These ceremonial parades are held every Friday night during the summer and have become a universal symbol of pride, professionalism and Esprit de Corps throughout the United States.
The NCO Parade holds a unique significance of its own. Distinguished NCO’s of the Barracks are given a chance to demonstrate their leadership skills by filling in the positions of officers and staff noncommissioned officers.
The pressure was on as the Marines had to perform for the guest of honor, Adm. John M. Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations and the hosting official Gen. Robert B. Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps, along with thousands of others in attendance.
The Friday Evening Parade featured performances from “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band, “The Commandant’s Own” U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, the U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard, the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon and Ceremonial Marchers, all hand-selected Marines to serve at the prestigious Marine Barracks.
Since NCOs execute vital duties and take on significant responsibility, they are considered the backbone of the Marine Corps’ daily leadership and set the standard of success for the Marines in their charge. They are the ones who shape and mold the face of the Corps.
This parade, dedicated to all the NCOs of the Corps, afforded the younger Marines an opportunity to take charge of roles normally headed by senior Marines. Specifically, during the parade they called commands and led their fellow Marines amongst the parade staff.
“There are four indicators of leadership,” said Sgt. Maj. Joseph C. Gray, sergeant major of Marine Barracks Washington. “Proficiency, discipline, morale and Esprit de Corps. If you want to assess how effective the leadership is at a unit, then you need to find a means to evaluate the NCO Corps. The best way to do that here at the Barracks is to put them on the parade deck.”
With the stage set, the Marines performed with discipline and confidence, characteristics that reflect the image of true NCOs. Their mere flawless performance was one that will be hard to forget for the thousands of guests in attendance.
“The weight of being able to represent the Marine Corps and what it stands for is a blessing, an honor and a privilege,” said Sgt. Nicholas Smith, an NCO at the Barracks and the parade commander.
How well you are able to humble your successes and combine them with other contributing factors determines how well you are able to function as a well-organized team, said Smith.
The Marines not only proved their abilities to lead as NCOs, but exhibited the high caliber of leadership that the Corps expects of all its Marines.
“The NCOs are the ones who make it happen in the fleet and they are the ones who make it happen here,” said Gray. “I can’t be more proud of any organization that I’ve ever served in than I am of these Marines here.”