TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - The Adopt-a-School program is
one of the many community events that units aboard the
Combat Center actively support. The program introduces
students to Marines as they exercise and play at their
schools. The environment of the Marine-student relationship
changed when students from local schools got a taste of the
Corps during a visit to the Combat Center.
Students from Condor, Oasis, Onaga, Palm Vista and
Twentynine Palms Elementary schools visited the base on
March 12, 2014 to watch the Battle Colors Ceremony at Lance Cpl.
Torrey L. Gray Field. The schools were split up to spend
time with Marines after the ceremony.
Dillion Smith, 11, and fellow students from Palm Vista
Elementary student explore an M1A1 Abrams Tank during the school's
visit to 1st Tank Battalion's tank ramp on March 12, 2014. The
battalion adopted Palm Vista as part of the Adopt-a-School program
and invited them to see a number of static displays after the Battle
Colors Ceremony. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ali Azimi)
Colors Ceremony is an annual event at the Combat Center. The
Battle Color Detachment is comprised of the Marine Corps
Drum and Bugle Corps, the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon
and the Marine Corps Color Guard. They are a symbol of
Marine Corps discipline and history.
The Drum and
Bugle Corps, also known as “The Commandant's Own,” is made
up of 85 distinguished Marines who are recruited from
civilian drum corps, marching bands and other musical units
within the Marine Corps.
“Even if you've seen it 20
times, it's still impressive the 21st time,” said Gen. David
H. Berger, Commanding General, Combat Center.
move and sound made was harmonized with their fellow
Marines. It was an impressionable experience to
approximately 500 students filling the bleachers. For some
of them, it was their first time attending the ceremony, but
for others it was a repeat performance they were happy to
“It was a lot of fun,” said Dillion Smith,
11, Palm Vista Elementary student. “I went to it last year
and I want to go again next year.”
performance, the Marines stayed on the field as the kids
rushed up to them. They answered the students' questions,
took pictures with them and the Bugle Corps Marines allowed
them to try out their instruments.
Soon it was time
to go, but their visit to the Combat Center was not over.
Four of the schools headed to Del Valle Field where they
enjoyed their lunches and played soccer and football with
Marines from 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, and Marine Corps
As they played on
the field, the students from Palm Vista Elementary School
headed to the compound of their adopted unit, 1st Tank
The unit regularly visits the school as
part of the program but on this trip, the students were able
to see where their 1st Tanks Marines worked.
first time volunteering was probably three months ago,” said
Lance Cpl. Byron Peterson, supply administrative specialist,
1st Tanks. “I go to Adopt-a-School every two weeks.”
The battalion set up multiple static displays of several
M1A1 Abrams Tanks, Humvees, 7-ton trucks and their
The students explored the
vehicles inside and out, while 1st Tank Marines taught them
about the iron giants.
“I enjoy the fact that they're
enjoying it,” Peterson said. “It's good to have them out
here and see what we do.”
The day finally ended with
the departure of the buses back to their schools. Although
they had to say goodbye, they will soon be reunited at the
next Adopt-a-School event.
By U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Ali Azimi
Comment on this article