FORT STORY, Va. - Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center color guard members received a special gift from Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick D. West during the 2011 Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Family Readiness Symposium Sept. 29.
MCPON presented his coin to each member of ECRC’s color guard in appreciation for their performance in front of more than 200 family readiness advocates in attendance, including Rear Adm. Michael P. Tillotson, commander of NECC.
ECRC’s color guard has been performing at events and ceremonies throughout Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek – Fort Story (JEBLCFS) since their inception in early 2009 under the leadership and direction of then Logistics Specialist 1st Class Seth Treadway.
In the beginning, the unit’s mission was to support staff retirement ceremonies at ECRC. After ECRC’s 2009 change of command and retirement ceremony of former commanding officer, Capt. Jeffrey McKenzie, the unit gained recognition and was selected to present colors for the 2009 Chief Petty Officer Pinning ceremony at JEBLCFS. Since then, ECRC’s color guard has been selected to render honors for more than 20 events and ceremonies within a three-year span.
The unit consists of six interchangeable members who now include Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Pablo M. Esquivel, Logistics Specialist 1st Class Mariel Gatbonton, Personnel Specialist 2nd Class Jaron T. White, Personnel Specialist 2nd Class Shaun O. Evans, Operations Specialist 2nd Class Brooks, and Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Amberlyn Lanni.
Lanni is the youngest and newest member of the guard, joining the unit in July 2011. In her first four months on the guard she has participated in six ceremonies as the right side rifleman.
“I am so honored to be a part of such an amazing unit,” said Lanni. “Carrying and presenting colors in front of hundreds of people is a nerve racking thing to do but is also one of the most rewarding things to be a part of. Knowing that not many people have ever had a chance to be part of something so elite; makes me realize the importance of what we do.”
In this year alone they have been called upon to parade colors on many different occasions, including the 1st Annual Carl Brashear Remembrance ceremony, ECRC’s change of command ceremony, the Chief Petty Officer Pinning ceremony, and numerous retirement ceremonies that all took place at JEBLCFS.
White, coordinator for ECRC’s color guard, has taken on the responsibility of continuing the unit’s high standard.
“To have the opportunity to be a part of the ECRC color guard is very exciting but also very humbling,” said White. “When we parade the colors and see the looks on people’s faces as we all honor our nation’s flag, it's a reminder of what our nation's flag really means and why we serve in our military.”