MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
Marines are known for their loyalty, strict discipline, precision, dedication and commitment to always be faithful.
The Marines of the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany Color Guard represent the commitment of the base with perfectly crisp drill movements while maintaining stone-like bearing in front of critical, staring eyes.
The color guard stands tall as the face of MCLB Albany in local ceremonies and funerals. Color guard Marines all have other primary duties. For the select few who call the color guard their part-time job, it's a full-time commitment.
As the color sergeant and overall leader of the color guard, Sgt. Coleman Wilkinson, has represented Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., in more than 50 color presentations and 65 funerals since 2007. According to Wilkinson, simply representing the Marine Corps is his greatest reward. Another reward he received as color sergeant was the honor of representing the Marine Corps during the Mardi Gras festival earlier this year in New Orleans.
"We marched into the Superdome being watched by thousands and thousands of people with their eyes on us, and millions watching us on TV, and it was humbling," he said. “The crowd went crazy for the Marines.”
During that four-day event, culminating in the Superdome appearance, Wilkinson carried the national colors, a duty reserved for the color sergeant. He, two riflemen and the Marine Corps color bearer marched in a series of parades covering approximately 25 miles of city streets. It was only one of the many events the color guard participates in annually.
The color guard performs official functions on base, such as presenting colors for changes of command and other ceremonies. It also represents the base community in a wide capacity by performing a variety of local events that sometimes involve military themes, local festivals, or football games, typically within a 100 mile radius of the base.
The color guard also performs the solemn duty of presenting funeral honors for those who have served their country.
During funerals, Marines of the color guard provide honors by acting as pall bearers, folding and presenting the flag, providing a rifle detail for a 21-gun salute and playing taps. A total of 16 Marines can take part in a full funeral, but the ceremony needs only a minimum of two Marines to be able to provide funeral honors if circumstances dictate.
Lance Cpl. Lionel J. Webber, color guard rifleman, enjoys performing his duties. “Travelling to Atlanta for a ceremony, presenting colors for the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall (a travelling replica of the Vietnam War Memorial) and representing the base have been my best experiences in my two years,” he said.
According to Wilkinson, being a member of the color guard is a rewarding experience and a great opportunity to see a wide variety of interesting things. "Most bases you don't a chance to do this. It's a different aspect to serving in the military," he added.