Marine Corps

October 11, 2012

MCAS Yuma’s Color Guard represents centuries of success

Story and photo by Cpl. Sean Dennison
Desert Warrior Staff
Marine Corps Air Station Yuma’s color guard presents the Marine Corps colors during an event at the Yuma Palms RV resort, Oct. 2. Color guards are called upon to perform a multitude of tasks, including changes of command, relief and appointments, graduations, veterans’ congregation, naturalization ceremonies and, more somberly, funerals.

It’s one of the most preeminent standards of Corps tradition: the color guard.

Every unit, installation and command echelon within the Corps has one. Four Marines, two riflemen and two flagsmen, one holding Old Glory and the other the Marine Corps colors, are all it takes to represent the USMC in total.

Marine Corps Air Station Yuma’s color guard is no different.

“We represent the Marine Corps and show our military appearance and discipline,” said Sgt. Abraham Barcenas, the station’s color sergeant and a native of Hawthorne, Calif. “We do it to provide a service to the community.”

According to a 2005 story written about the Marine Corps color guard, before the 20th century, military colors were carried covered except for ceremonies or when in sight of the enemy. A unit’s colors provided battlefield recognition for both friend and foe. The flag symbolized the reputation of the unit. To ensure the troops knew the flag of their own regiment the two flags were paraded before them during reviews and other ceremonies. This is how the color guard came to be, and after time, the color guards were selected from among the strongest and bravest troops.

Today, the color guard still stands as a group of Marines who can march with the precision and synchronicity needed for Corps decorum.

“We have to talk to the Marine and make sure they’re squared away,” said Barcenas. “That they have a good military appearance, they’re coordinated, motivated and dedicated.”

The Marines are chosen from different sectors, but that poses no problem for their execution.

“We get to know each other and get that Marine connection going on,” said Barcenas.

Color guards are called upon to perform a multitude of tasks, including changes of command, relief and appointments, academic graduations, veterans’ congregation, naturalization ceremonies and, more somberly, funerals.

“When we present that flag, we become a part of their (the attendants) lives,” said Barcenas.

The red and yellow of the Corps’ colors, actually gold and scarlet, resound within the retinas of Marines everywhere, and, like the Corps itself, is relatively young.

According to Marines Barracks’ website, it was not until April 18, 1925, that Marine Corps Order Number 4 designated gold and scarlet as the official colors of the U.S. Marine Corps. These colors, however, were not reflected in the official Marine Corps flag until Jan. 18, 1939, when a new design incorporating the new colors was approved. This design is essentially that of today’s Marine Corps standard, and was the result of a two-year study concerning the design of a standard Marine Corps flag, and the units to which such a flag should be issued.

The fifty-four colored streamers which adorn the Battle Colors represent the history and accomplishments of the Marine Corps.

The color guard still stands as one of the most honorable displays of patriotism Marines may perform.

“It shows we’re proud of who we are,” said Barcenas. “We should always present a positive image to our country and community. When we go out there, we show our uniforms, our Marine Corps drill movements and sometimes that’s the only time people ever see us.”

All the color guard Marines agreed being part of the detail is among the most rewarding acts they’ve performed as Marines. For information on how to become part of the color guard, contact your unit’s color sergeant, or for the base color guard, contact Barcenas at (928) 269-2122.

All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.



Sterling Global Operations completes U.S. Navy project to clear munitions, firing range and target debris from Arizona Marine Corps Air Station range

Sterling Global Operations, Inc., in a two-year project for the U.S. Navy, removed or recycled some 5.9 million pounds of munitions, firing range and target debris from Marine Corps Air Station at Yuma, Ariz. Sterling Global re...

US Army, Raytheon achieve first inflight lethal intercept of low quadrant elevation rocket

YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz. – Raytheon successfully intercepted and destroyed a low quadrant elevation 107mm rocket as part of the second series of guided test vehicle flight tests of the Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative program. The intercept is a major test milestone before the U.S. Army live-fire engagements begin in September. “Beginning only 18 months...

Raytheon, U.S. Army complete first AI3 guided flight test series

Raytheon and the U.S. Army successfully completed the first guided test vehicle flight series of the Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative program at Yuma Proving Ground, Aris. The series consisted of two flight tests against different target profiles. In each case after launch, the interceptor initially guided on in-flight radio frequency datalink updates from the fire...


New Navy vessel named after Yuma

The U.S. Navy has decided to name one of their newest Joint High-Speed Vessels after the city of Yuma, Ariz., forming an even deeper bond between the local community and our military. Political officials from the state of Arizona and the city of Yuma were informed of the decision by the Honorable Ray Mabus, Secretary...

Joint Strike Fighter on track, costs coming down, Kendall says

Indications are that the F-35 joint strike fighter program — the most expensive aviation program in Defense Department history — is on track, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics told a Senate panel June 19. Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee this morning, Frank Kendall said the F-35 will be...

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle ‘closes capability gap,’ Army says

While the Humvee has served the Army well for some 25 years, there’s a “capability gap” in what it can do for warfighters on a 21st-century battlefield, said the Soldier responsible for overseeing its replacem...


Be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>