Semper Fi

Even though I am a civilian living in Japan, the U.S. military presense is felt everyday.  The island has approximately eleven U.S. military bases, most of which are represented by the U.S. Marine Corps.  We enjoy many perks because of this, and one we got to enjoy this past week was a visit from the Commadant's own U.S. Marine Drum & Bugle Corps and USMC Silent Drill Platoon.

The Commadant was also present on the island to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima.  Their first stop had been Iwo Jima, followed by Okinawa, Guam and Pearl Harbor.  The guests of the ceremony included veterans from the battle, high ranking officers, the major general here on the island and Japanese officials.  There were even some women in kimonos.

Iwo Jima Veterans


The Battle Colors Ceremony took place on USMC Camp Foster (where Fred works).  The Drum & Bugle Corps began the ceremony by marching on the field in precise unison wearing their brilliant red uniforms.  They performed a number of different pieces including patriotic marches, some Frank Sinatra and a medoly from the musical Hair.  Then the Silent Drill Platoon took the field, also with exact precision.  With no verbal commands, the platoon went through a series of manuevers with their rifles, twirling them around and throwing them dangerously close to their platoon mate's heads.  With the power of my iphone, I snagged a couple videos.  As you'll see, I really need a proper video camera.

The Drum and Bugle Corps taking the field

A little Mozat

Marching off the field with color guard and silent drill platoon following behind
After the ceremony, we were fortunate enough to have dinner with two member of the Drum & Bugle Corps and I got to ask all my burning questions about military ceremonies.  I learned that the group as a whole does over 500 ceremonies every year.  Based in D.C., they are also the ones who perform at military funerals at Arlington National Cemetery.  Interesting fact - the Body Bearers for the Marine Corps have to be able to bench press 225 lbs. 20 times and squat 275 lbs. 20 times due to the weight of the caskets.  I also learned that members of the Color Guard must be 6'4" or taller to bear the colors.

These guys are tall - a job requirement

The general on the right - yes, she's a woman

Whether it's stopping your car on base for evening colors, standing before a movie for the national anthem, or attending an event like this, you are always reminded here of the men and women surrounding you who are serving our country.

No comments:

Post a Comment