The only remaining Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard declared its
first honorary member during a buckle ceremony, July 5, in Cody,
Former Marine Sgt. Gary Brown (second from
left) poses with the Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard wearing his
official MCG belt buckle on July 5, 2013 in Cody, Wyo. The MCG
Marines are wearing buckles presented to them from the Cody Stampede
Rodeo committee for their hard work and part in Cody's Fourth of
July celebrations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Samuel Ranney)
The prestigious ceremony involved former Marine Sgt.
Gary Brown, a Vietnam veteran and long time host and friend of the
MCG, receiving his very own MCG belt buckle. The buckle, which
displays the eagle, globe and anchor, was presented to Brown by Sgt.
Edgar Torrealba, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the
Brown was recognized for his hard work and dedication to
the MCG and the Corps as a whole.
“The belt buckle has been
a Mounted Color Guard tradition for years,” explained Torrealba.
“Only official members of the MCG receive one.”
behind making him an honorary member is simple, explained Torrealba.
He is a Marine through and through.
“Mr. Brown is very
welcoming and supportive of every devil dog he meets. Anyone and
everyone who has taken the oath and earned the EGA is a brother or
sister to him,” explained Cpl. Bryanna Kessler, a stableman with the
MCG. “He is always willing to help anyone. That's what makes him a
Marine's Marine; he lives by honor, courage and especially
Brown played an integral part in getting the MCG
to Cody for their Independence Day celebrations. A tradition that
has now been going on for seven years, said Torrealba. Each year the
MCG has come to Cody, Brown and his wife Leslie have hosted the
Marines and made sure they were taken care of.
During the current sequestration, for example, Brown
fought for the MCG to come to Cody, knowing many other
military functions were being cancelled due to the budget
cuts, explained Torrealba. He even prepared arrangements to
cover the expenses of the trip in case the government
wouldn't pay for it.
Nothing means more to him than
the Marine Corps' presence in town, said Leslie.
“From the moment we arrive, Gary is with us. He works with
us from the early mornings to the late nights,” added
Torrealba. “He is always the first one to greet us and the
last to see us off.”
“Gary has supported the MCG
without having any obligations to us. He has gone out of his
way time and again to make sure we get to Cody,” said Sgt.
Jacey Marks, a stableman with the MCG. “Gary makes it his
mission to take care of Marines even though he has been out
of the Corps for years. He has done more for the MCG than
any other civilian ... he rates a Marine Corps Mounted Color
Guard belt buckle.”
Marks further explained this goes
to show Marines are brothers in arms ... no matter what
“Gary Brown is a true American hero,”
Said Sgt. Joel Richards, a stableman with the MCG. “Words
cannot describe how much he has done for the Mounted Color
Guard and for the Marine Corps.”
Richards added that
the ceremony brought him to tears. Watching someone who has
done so much for America, not only during his time on active
duty but decades later, and then becoming an official member
of the MCG, was an emotional experience.
means more to me than the Marine Corps presence here in
Cody,” said Brown.
Brown also added how proud it
makes him when people from the community come up to him and
tell him how good the MCG looked after their performances.
He can often be overheard saying, “I wish I was still in
the Corps,” and although that may not be possible for this
Vietnam veteran, he is and always will be a Marine and
honorary member of the Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard.
“Receiving that buckle meant everything to me ... and I
mean everything,” Brown said. “It was the biggest honor of
The Purple Heart recipient has been out of
the Corps for decades, yet demonstrates the epitome of
esprit de corps day in and day out. He is a true example of
‘once a Marine, always a Marine,' which was the consensus of
all four members of the Mounted Color Guard.
By USMC Pfc. Samuel Ranney
Marine Corps News
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