News: Battle Color Detachment returns to Yuma
Story by Lance Cpl. William Waterstreet
YUMA, Ariz. - The United States Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment featuring the Silent Drill Platoon and “Commandant's Own” Drum and Bugle Corps have returned to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and preparing for their 2012 performances.
The D&B and SDP are known for prowess in their performances. Both strive year-round to live up to their standards of excellence.
“We strive to have a flawless performance,” said Cpl. Austin Williams, a percussionist in the D&B and a native of Knoxville, Tenn. “We try to make as few mistakes as possible, but there's always something else to learn and something to get better at.”
The D&B was officially formed in 1934 and are not to be confused with the “President’s Own” United States Marine Band. The SDP held its first performance in 1948, and was so popular it became a permanent unit in the Corps. Since their inceptions, these units have been central in shaping the image of the Corps.
“SDP is one of the largest recruitment tools available to the Marine Corps,” said Lance Cpl. Carlton Williams, the rifle inspector with SDP and native of Phoenix. “I hear a lot of people say they joined the Marine Corps because they saw a picture or a video of SDP.”
“Marine music is necessary for boosting moral, recruitment purposes and the pomp and circumstance the Marine Corps warrants,” added Cpl. Williams. “What would we be without art? What would we be without music to move us?”
SDP has taken part of the Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron Barracks parking lot as their own to use for drill practice, and the band has made the softball field near the gym home for their music.
These Marines from Marine Barracks, Washington D.C. are here to train in Yuma because of the cold and inclement weather in the capitol. MCAS Yuma provides the perfect atmosphere for training and practice day in and day out.
“This takes numerous hours of practice,” said Lance Cpl. Williams. “We formed our teams back in September and have been practicing since then. The platoon practices 10-12 hours per day.”
They then move on to perform upwards of 500 times each year. These exhibitions include stand-alone concerts, parades and funerals for service members in addition to standard performances.
These units have been iconic symbols of the Marine Corps for many years. They strive tirelessly to live up to their history, and the time they spend here in Yuma is another example of their steadfast dedication to their art and to their mission.
The performance season for both the D&B and SDP starts with a performance for active-duty and retired military and their families on March 1 at 11 a.m. In addition, there will be performances at Kofa High School and Gila Ridge High School on March 1 and 2, respectively, both at 7 p.m.