When the gates open September 26, the occasion will mark the 51st appearance of the United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps at the State Fair of Texas. Each year, fairgoers eagerly await the return of “The Commandant’s Own,” a title recognizing the special status of the prestigious marching band. After a year hiatus, the Corps will return to Marine Corps Square for four days of the Fair.
“We are excited to have the United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps continue its tradition at the State Fair of Texas,” said Mitchell Glieber, president of the State Fair. “The Corps has been a crowd favorite since its first performance in 1961, and we look forward to them once again entertaining fairgoers with an assortment of popular and patriotic tunes.”
Comprised by more than 80 Marine musicians, their ceremonial scarlet and white uniforms are recognized worldwide. Each member proudly displays a red and gold breast cord on the uniform. Franklin Delano Roosevelt originally awarded the cord in recognition of the unit’s ceremonial support duties for the president. The famed musicians travel more than 50,000 miles annually, performing in nearly 500 events across the nation and abroad.
The Corps celebrated its 50th year at the State Fair of Texas in 2012. Last year, in accordance with a letter issued by Brigadier General David J. Furness, and in compliance with written direction from the Secretary of Defense, all military support to non-Department of Defense organizations for outreach activities was restricted, and military musical and ceremonial units were only to perform in the area surrounding their immediate duty stations.
The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps was formed in 1934 to augment the United States Marine Band. Every enlisted member is a graduate of Marine Corps recruit training and is trained in basic infantry skills. Prior to enlisting, each Marine must pass a demanding audition for service in the Drum and Bugle Corps. Following Recruit Training and Marine Combat Training, the Marines are assigned to “The Commandant’s Own.”
The Marine Drum & Bugle Corps will perform daily at 4 p.m. in Marine Corps Square from September 26 through September 29. In addition, the unit will perform a formal flag-lowering ceremony daily at 5 p.m. in front of the Hall of State, and lead off the nightly Starlight Parade at 7:15 p.m.