United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps
U.S. Marines with the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps perform during the Sunset Parade at the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va., June 4, 2013
Country United States
Branch USMC
TypeMilitary Band
Garrison/HQMarine Barracks Washington
Nickname(s)"The Commandant's Own"
Commanding OfficerMajor Nathan D. Morris
Executive Officer and DirectorCaptain Courtney R. Lawrence
Operations Officer and Assistant DirectorWarrant Officer Patrick Montgomery
Drum MajorMaster Gunnery Sergeant Joshua Dannemiller
Assistant Drum MajorMaster Sergeant David Cox

The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps is the drum and bugle corps of the United States Marine Corps. The D&B is now the only active duty drum and bugle corps in the United States Armed Forces. One of many United States military bands, the United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps usually consists of about 70 active-duty Marines dressed in ceremonial red and white uniforms. The D&B performs martial and popular music.[1]

The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps has been officially designated as "The Commandant's Own" due to the historical connection with the Commandant of the Marine Corps. The D&B is entirely separate from its sister organization, the United States Marine Band ("The President's Own"), as well as the ten active-duty United States Marine Corps field bands. The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps travels more than 50,000 miles (80,000 km) annually, performing over 400 events worldwide.

During the summer months, the D&B performs in conjunction with "The President's Own" in the traditional Friday Evening Parades at Marine Barracks Washington, and in the Tuesday Sunset Parades at the Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Monument) in Arlington, Virginia. These parades are not street parades, but military parades consisting of ceremonial pomp that are symbolic of Marine professionalism, discipline, and esprit de corps.[2]

Major Nathan D. Morris is the seventh and current Commanding Officer of "The Commandant's Own" United States Drum & Bugle Corps, serving in this position since February 2022. Captain Courtney R. Lawrence is the Executive Officer and Director. Master Gunnery Sergeant Joshua Dannemiller is the twenty-third and current Drum Major. Master Sergeant David Cox is the Assistant Drum Major.[1]


"The Commandant's Own" The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps with then President George W. Bush while in France.

The unit's history traces to the early days of the Marine Corps. In the 18th and 19th centuries, military musicians ("field musics") provided a means of passing commands to Marines in battle. The sound of various drum beats and bugle calls that could be heard over the noise of the battlefield signaled Marines to attack the enemy or retreat. Through the 1930s, Marine Corps posts still authorized several buglers and drummers to play the traditional calls and to ring a ship's bell to signal the time. Until the 1960s, Marine Corps units across the country sported unit drum and bugle corps within their respective rosters.

"The Commandant's Own" The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps, the only such formation within the Armed Forces today, was formed in 1934 at historic Marine Barracks Washington to augment the United States Marine Band where the unit provided musical support to ceremonies around the nation's capital. It was additionally tasked with presidential support duties during World War II, and for this additional role, they were awarded the scarlet and gold breast cord by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, which remains on the uniform today. When the war ended, the United States Drum and Bugle Corps resumed performing at various military and public ceremonies.

In the early 1950s, the unit gained considerable acclaim performing for an increasing number of civilian audiences. Originally their instrumentation was similar to the other drum and bugle corps of the era. It has evolved along with the civilian corps, adapting trends after they have become established by the civilian corps. Music composed specifically for their unique selection of instruments helped establish their reputation for excellence during this period. These factors also led to the unit's formal designation as "The Commandant's Own", a title noting their unique connection to the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

In 1968, Truman Crawford, formerly of the United States Air Force Drum and Bugle Corps, became a musical arranger and instructor for The Commandant's Own. During his 30-year career, he had a significant impact on the D&B comparable to that of John Philip Sousa on the United States Marine Band. The primary rehearsal hall of "The Commandant's Own" at Marine Barracks Washington is named Truman Crawford Hall in his honor.[3]


External videos
video icon Behind the Scenes: Drum Major Auditions

Like the United States Marine Band, prior to enlisting each potential member of the Drum and Bugle Corps, all must pass a competitive audition. Unlike members of the President's Own, Drum and Bugle Corps members do undergo Marine Corps Recruit Training and Marine Combat Training, where they are trained in basic infantry tactics.[4]

Following Recruit Training and Marine Combat Training, Drum and Bugle Corps members proceed directly to Marine Barracks Washington for duty with "The Commandant's Own". They do not attend any additional Military Occupational Specialty training.

Uniforms and instruments

See also: Uniforms of the United States Marine Corps

The Marines of the United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps wear red and white uniforms with white gauntlets which cover the wrists and bear and play brass instruments, marching drums, and various front ensemble instruments.

Master Sergeant Kevin D. Buckles, former Drum Major of the United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps "The Commandant's Own" holding a ceremonial mace.

The brass instruments played by "The Commandant's Own" are bugles pitched in G. There are 4 sections within the hornline: Soprano Bugle, Mellophone Bugle, Baritone Bugle, and Contrabass Bugle. In January of 2021 the unit transitioned from the two-valved models utilized by the Drum Corps for decades, to three-valved versions, allowing the brass section to play the complete chromatic scale. Formerly the DBC, as well as various unit bugle corps, also had fifers up til the 1940s.

See also


  1. ^ a b nited States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps
  2. ^ "Partners - Drum Corps International :: Marching Music's Major League™". Dci.org. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  3. ^ A History of Drum & Bugle Corps, Vol. 2; Steve Vickers, ed.; Drum Corps World, pub.; 2003
  4. ^ "Audition Information". www.drumcorps.marines.mil. Archived from the original on 2013-12-18.