MARFORPAC color guard looks for motivated Marines
By Pfc. Ethan Hoaldridge
| | May 07, 2007
U.S. MARINE CORPS BASE, CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii --
The creases on his uniform were starched and ironed to perfection, the brass buttons and buckle polished to a gleam and each step he would take along side his fellow Marines in the ceremony was memorized.
Whether it is for the President of the United States, the Commandant of the Marine Corps or for the remains of soldiers brought home from the Vietnam War, the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific color guard is present and carrying the American and Marine Corps colors proudly.
Most often, two rifle bearers and two noncommissioned officers carrying the colors, wearing their dress-blue deltas, travel all over the isle of Oahu for numerous events that rate a color guard.
“We’ve represented our unit as a color guard several times for VIPs such as the President, the Commandant and the Secretary of the Navy,” said Sgt. Alexander Velazquez, the MARFORPAC color sergeant. “It’s an honor to be an ambassador of the Marine Corps and its values, wherever we go.”
The eight members of the MARFORPAC color guard must look sharp both in appearance and movement at every moment while performing their duties in the public eye.
“Everyone always seems to pay more attention to the Marines than the actual event when we march out in step wearing our dress blues,” said Lance Cpl. Zachary Dalling, a MARFORPAC color guard rifle bearer. “It’s also very satisfying when people come up and compliment you for doing a good job, especially when it’s a war veteran.”
The number of color guard events varies from month to month. The summer months can reach 12 or 13 events and December may have 16.
“When we’re tasked multiple color guards back to back, it becomes hard to meet the requirement with so few color guard members,” said Velazquez. “I love being a part of it, but I have a wife and children and not to mention my normal responsibilities as an NCO in the training office.”
The MARFORPAC color guard has eight members now, and hopes to have 16 total to lighten the current work load.
“I would like four more NCOs and four more junior Marines on the color guard to make two more teams,” said Velazquez.
First Sgt. John Krumholz, the MARFORPAC Headquarters & Service Battalion first sergeant, said that, “Marines who actively participate in the color guard will be left off the duty NCO and assistant duty NCO roster,” and he is in the process of providing dress blue uniform coats and dress blue delta uniform items to the color guard.
The opportunity to serve on the color guard is a privilege and a responsibility of the junior enlisted at MARFORPAC.
“I’m looking for motivated, willing Marines who take pride in the uniform they wear, to come and give us a hand for the upcoming months’ color guard events,” said Velazquez.
For more information or to volunteer to be part of the MARFORPAC color guard contact Sgt. Alexander Velazquez at 477-8355.