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– Soldier Field played host to the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon today as they performed to an audience of Chicagoans, including civilians, military personnel and cadets from the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program.

Photo by PFC Lucas Vega

Local JROTC students attend Battle Color Detachment performance

13 May 2009 | Pfc. Lucas Vega

Approximately 1000 people, including 800 Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps’ cadets from the local area attended one of two performances by “The Commandant’s Own” U.S. Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps and Silent Drill Platoon at the historic Soldier Field Wednesday despite overcast skies and rain.

The cadets came from 10 high schools throughout the city to witness first-hand the unique precision drill exhibition and musical performance of the Battle Color Detachment based out of Marine Barracks Washington, D.C.

Retired Marine Master Sgt. Robert Hayes, instructor of the JROTC at Noble Street Charter School explained why it is important for his cadets to watch Marines perform in a city like Chicago. “Most of these cadets have never seen these Marines perform so they get a better understanding of what the Marine Corps does besides fight,” said Hayes.

“The Commandant’s Own” led by assistant drum major, Master Sgt. Kevin D. Buckles marched onto the Chicago Bears’ field to begin the event following a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program demonstration by the Martial Arts Center of Excellence in the south concourse of the stadium.

Soprano bugler and public affairs chief for the Drum and Bugle Corps, Gunnery Sgt. Michael Fulwood, described how he felt about the performance for the cadets.

“We (the Drum and Bugle Corps) fancy ourselves as being the face of the Marine Corps,” he said after noting that their organization is sometimes the first and only impression the public gets of the Marine Corps.

Fulwood also said the performance was a small crowd in comparison to earlier events this week, which entertained nearly 4,500.
“We strive to go out and make it our best performance, even if it’s a small performance,” he said.

Following the band’s 30-minute time in the spotlight, the Silent Drill Platoon walked out of the northeast tunnel solidifying the segment for the on looking cadets.

A member of the 24-man rifle platoon, Cpl. Jerimiah Alamo, said he was glad to come out and perform for the cadets and to also be a part of the inaugural Marine Week.

“I think the Marine Corps is getting good exposure through these performances,” said the 22-year-old graduate of Wells High School, located on Chicago’s North Side.

Alamo, who hasn’t been to the stadium since the age of 11, followed the Bears growing up and idolized Walter Payton, even after his retirement.

“It’s a special feeling to come back to Soldier Field not as a spectator but as a performer on the Silent Drill Platoon,” said Alamo. “It shows Marines on a more personal scale.”

Marine Corps News

Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps