When I am involved with the Scouts, it is usually behind the scenes…prepping for projects, picking up supplies for camp-outs, sewing on merit badges or patches – that Mom kind of stuff. The moms just don't go on most of the activities. So when retired Sergeant Major Bill Paxton called to check on our up coming Eagle Court of Honor for Mike and Tom and invited the troop to a special performance of the US Marine Drum & Bugle Corps – families included – Scott jumped at the chance and he set the plans in motion.
Three cars full of family members and Scouts left the church about 1pm on Saturday, March 20th, 2010. When we arrived at the MCRD (Marine Corps Recruit Depot) San Diego, we got through the gate and then everyone had to pile out of their vehicles, open all their doors, hood, trunk and compartments while they were searched.
We were greeted by Sergeant Major Paxton, and guided to our reserved bleachers. He spoke with the boys about the importance of being good Scouts and working to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. He then introduce one of the few surviving men that was at Iwo Jima…I unfortunately have forgotten his name. Scott spoke to the boys about the men and women in uniform and the importance of their service. He pointed out men with Purple Hearts and talked about what was involved. The Scouts were all attentive and courteous, very well-mannered.
The official name of the group is "The Commandant's Own", The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps. The group was formed Nov. 4, 1934 – same name, different musicians, of course!
Dressed in their ceremonial red and white uniforms, what they were was nothing short of amazing! The music was brilliant, as was the shine of the instruments down to their black patent dress shoes.
Their marching was precise…perfect!
After the musical program was over, they moved to the left of the field and we were treated to the next exhibition – the US Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon. These soldiers performed a highly disciplined drill routine, using 10.5 pound, M – 1 Garand rifles with the bayonets fixed. The drill concluded with an inspection that demonstrated elaborate spins and tosses, and all without any verbal commands.
The program was concluded with the US Marine Corps Color Guard presenting the colors – the National Colors (US flag) and the Battle Color, which is the official Color of the USMC. The Battle Color bears 54 streamers that US and foreign unit awards the Marine Corps has earned during its participation in all conflicts from the American Revolutionary War to today. It was the first time I had ever seen this and it was very impressive. The final musical number was the National Anthem.
After the applause died down, we went to the field to meet some of the performing soldiers. It was nice to be able to chat with these modest, well-groomed and mannered men and women. They were all very down to earth and gracious in the time spent talking to the Scouts. They were handing out CD's of their performances and they got a few autographs. Very cool!
After we left the field, we went to a reception at the MCRD museum. There were some vintage weapons, along with lots of historical memorabilia. The Scouts were all impressed.
We got to meet Major General Anthony L. Jackson, the Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations West at the reception.
I am grateful for the men and women of the Marine Corps and appreciate all their efforts to protect and serve. It was a great way to spend the afternoon!