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Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment ceremony returning to Albany Marine base

Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany gearing up to host ceremonial units

MCLB-ALBANY — After budget cuts cancelled last year’s festivities, Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany officials are gearing up to host the U.S. Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment ceremony on base next month.

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The United States Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment’s Silent Drill Platoon performs in a 2011 ceremony in Albany. After last year’s ceremony was cancelled due to budget cuts, the Battle Color Detachment is coming back to Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany next month. (Albany Herald file photo)

The event will be March 17 at 1 p.m., and is free and open to the public. Comprised of three performing ceremonial units from Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., the U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard, the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon and the U.S. Marine Corps Drum & Bugle Corps make up the Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment.

The Marine Corps Color Guard is unique. It is comprised of four Marines, including the color sergeant, the Marine Corps Color Bearer and the left and light riflemen. The Color Guard includes the national colors, carried by the Color Sergeant of the Marine Corps and is the only official battle colors of the Marines. The colors bear the same 50 streamers authorized for the Marine Corps as a whole, representing national and foreign unit awards as well as those periods of service, expeditions and campaigns in which the Corps has participated from the American Revolution to today.

The Color Guard section has three teams and often participates in more than 1,000 ceremonies annually, regularly two to eight per day, officials say.

The crescendo of the event is often considered to be the Silent Drill Platoon, a 24-man rifle platoon that performs precision moves without verbal commands. Officials say it first performed in the Sunset Parades of 1948 and received such an overwhelming response that it soon became a regular part of the parades at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C.

Traditionally known as “The Commandant’s Own,” the Marine Drum & Bugle Corps is comprised of 85 Marines recruited from various civilian drum corps, marching bands and other musical units within the Corps. The unit combines contemporary songs and traditional marching music with uniquely choreographed drill movements in a program entitled “Music in Motion.”

Sequestration cancelled last year’s annual visit to Albany after a memo from U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sent just days before the ceremony ordered all ceremonial units to return to their home ports.