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"The Commandant's Own"

 

"The Commandant's Own"

The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps

Marine Barracks Washington, D.C.
Unit Leaders

Major Christopher Hall

Director/ Commanding Officer

Major Christopher E. Hall joined "The Commandant's Own" in March of 1994 as a Mellophone Bugler. In January 2000, he was named Mellophone Section Leader and Soloist, appearing during the ensembles performance of Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring". During the same year he began service as the unit's Public Affairs Chief. Two years later, he was appointed as the unit's Operations Chief. In May of 2005, Major Hall was appointed as the interim Assistant Drum Major and served until December of that same year. In January of 2006,Major Hall served as the Low Brass Section Head and a year later was appointed as the Principal Brass Instructor where he served until January of 2008. Major Hall was commissioned in October of 2008.

Major Hall began his musical instruction at age 9 with his father, William (Ph.D.), a trombonist serving with "Pershing's Own", The U.S. Army Band from 1974-1976. After graduating from Meigs Local High School in Pomeroy, Ohio in 1992, he attended Ohio University as a Music Education major, and studied French Horn with C. Scott Smith (M.M.), founder and principal horn for the OhioBrass and Doug Lundeen (D.M.A.), principal horn for the Princeton and Wheeling Symphonies.

Thoroughly enjoying his performance experiences, Major Hall has performed with the All-Ohio State Fair Band, the Morehead State University Honors Band, the Ohio University Wind Ensemble, and various other regional ensembles.

Professionally, his notable appearances include performances for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Edinburgh Scotland, President and Mrs. George W. Bush at the American Embassy in Paris, France, President George H.W. Bush at the dedication of the National Museum of the Pacific War, President William J. Clinton and President and Mrs. Barack Obama during the Evening Parade, the Sultan of Oman in celebration of his 30 Year Reign in Muscat, Oman, and the Fuji International Music Festival in Fuji, Japan.

Major Hall has performed with "The Commandant's Own", across the country and around the world. He has toured throughout Europe, Southwest Asia, the South Pacific and Japan; performing for Presidents and Heads of State, as well as hundreds of thousands in civilian and military audiences.

He assumed duties as the fifth director of the United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps on 11 December 2014.

Major Hall is a graduate of The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia. He also holds a bachelor of science in International Business from Strayer University in Washington, DC., graduating with Cum Laude honors. Major Hall also holds a Master of Arts degree in Business Communication from Seton Hall University.

His personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and his academic affiliations include Phi Theta Kappa and the National Dean's List (2002).

 

Captain James Foley

Assistant Director/ Executive Officer

Captain James Foley joined "The Commandant's Own" in 2005 as a Lead Soprano Bugler. He served both as a Soprano soloist and as the Assistant Ceremonial Bugler for the 2006-2007 Parade Seasons. He also served as a Drill Designer and Instructor for the Music in Motion program and as the Company Administrative Chief during this period. In 2008, he was named Mellophone Section Leader and Soloist, appearing during the ensembles' performances of The Four Seasons' "Medley from Jersey Boys," Cole Porter's "Another Op'nin', Another Show," and Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." He also began service as the unit's Chief Music Librarian and the Ceremonial Field Crew Director. For two consecutive years (2007 and 2008), he was named the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps' representative to the Marine Corps Non-Commissioned Officer Musician of the Year Board. In 2009, the FY10 Staff Non-Commissioned Officer Promotion Board selected him for promotion to the rank of Staff Sergeant. In late 2009 a specially convened selection board named him the as unit's next officer and was appointed by the President in March of 2010.

The son of two US Air Force Officers, Captain Foley began his musical studies at age 11 in the Orlando, Florida Public School systems. He studied the trumpet privately with Craig Turley of Walt Disney Music and John Almeida of the University of Central Florida and the bassoon with Donna Ronco. He graduated in 1998 as a National Merit Semi-Finalist from the Engineering Science and Technology Program at Edgewater High School in Orlando, Florida where he was active in the dramatic arts as well as the marching, jazz, and concert bands.

Captain Foley graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Music from the University of Wisconsin - Platteville in 2002. Throughout his undergraduate experience, he studied trumpet with Dr. Douglas Hill, Dr. Frank Hanson, and Dr. Gary Leopold, wind studies with Dr. Glenn Hayes, bassoon and wind conducting with Dr. Barry Ellis, and composition with Dr. Bonnie Miksch. He was a winner of the 2001 Concerto Competition and interned under John Hassig as a Program Assistant and Event Coordinator at the UW-P Center for the Performing Arts.

Captain Foley moved to Washington, DC, to pursue a career in Arts Administration. He worked for Arena Stage and then the Washington National Opera before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 2004. While on active duty, studying with Prof. Mark Camphouse, he completed a Master of Music Degree in Conducting from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia in 2010.

An advocate of all types and styles of musical performance, Captain Foley has performed with the 1997-1998 Magic of Orlando, 1999-2001 Madison Scouts, and the 2002 Concord Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps; the wind ensembles, jazz bands, orchestras, and choirs of the schools he has attended; the DC Acapella group Vox Populi; and several musical theater productions on stage and in the orchestra pit. He is an alumni member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Men's Music Fraternity.

He is a graduate of both the Sergeant and Staff Non-Commissioned Officer's Non-Resident Courses and graduated from The Warrant Officer Basic Course 1-11 at The Basic School, Marine Corps Base Quantico where he placed on the Commanding General's Honor Roll in the top 5% of his class. His personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star (second award) and the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal.

 

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nathan Morris

Assistant Director/ Operations Officer

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nathan D. Morris joined "The Commandant's Own" in September of 2007 as a member of the percussion section. After two years with the Drum Corps, Morris, a Corporal at the time, volunteered to be part of Task Force East, a provisional rifle company based out of the National Capital region. During his tenure with Task Force East, he deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) as squad leader and was subsequently promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

After his return in support of OIF, Morris was named percussion drillmaster in January of 2009. In the same year he began service as the unit’s Public Affairs assistant. In 2010 he was appointed as the Snare Drum Section Leader. In November of 2012, Morris was appointed as the Percussion Instructor and Arranger, a billet in which he served until December of 2014. In January of 2015, Chief Warrant Officer Morris attended the Warrant Officers Basic Course at Camp Barrett, Quantico VA. He now serves as the Operations Officer and Assistant Director for the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps.

Chief Warrant Officer Morris began his musical instruction at the age of 9. He attended Lassiter High School where he studied under esteemed Director Alfred Watkins and percussion instructor Mike Lynch. While at Lassiter, he performed in symphonic band, percussion ensemble and marching band, including the 1998 Bands Of America National Championship Marching Band. After graduation, he attended Middle Tennessee State University and studied under Lalo DaVila. He was member of the MTSU “Band Of Blue,” percussion ensemble, wind ensemble, Salsa band and steel band.  In 2004, Morris won the PASIC Indoor Drumline Championship. The summers of his college years were spent marching with the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps as a snare drummer from 2003-2005. He continued his relationship with the Boston Crusaders as a staff member in 2006 and 2007.  He marched with the Atlanta Quest Winter drumline in 2003 and 2004 and continued his indoor career with Music City Mystique, earning the bronze medal in 2005 and the gold medal in 2006.

Chief Warrant Officer Morris has performed with "The Commandant's Own" both across the United States and around the globe. He has toured throughout Europe, the South Pacific and Japan, has performed for Presidents and Heads of State, as well as hundreds of thousands in both civilian and military audiences. Professionally, his most notable appearances include performances for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the Evening Parades at Marine Barracks, as well as two joint performances with the New York Philharmonic.

Chief Warrant Officer Morris is a graduate of The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia. He also holds a Bachelors of Arts in Organizational Communications from Middle Tennessee State University

His personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement and Good Conduct Medals.

Master Gunnery Sergeant Kevin Buckles

Drum Major/ Senior Enlisted Advisor

Master Gunnery Sergeant Kevin Buckles is the Senior Enlisted Advisor and Drum Major of "The Commandant's Own," The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Master Gunnery Sergeant Buckles began his percussion instruction in the public school system at the age of five. At Samuel J. Peters middle school, he participated in the marching band and was selected as a percussionist to participate in the All City Band. After being selected to attend McDonogh #35 senior high school, he participated in the Marching and Honor bands and became percussion section leader.

Upon graduation in 1987, he enlisted in the Marine Corps in June 1988. Following graduation from Recruit Training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, CA, Private First Class Buckles attended the Armed Forces School of Music at Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, VA. After completion of the School of Music, where he was the Honor Graduate for his class, Lance Corporal Buckles reported to Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. in April of 1989 for duty with "The Commandant's Own" as a percussionist.

Shortly after arriving at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., he was meritoriously promoted to the rank of Corporal. After being promoted he was assigned as Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of percussion supply, where he was in charge or purchasing, cataloging and distributing over $50,000 worth of equipment.

Once promoted to the rank of Sergeant, he became an arranger and soloist within the Unit. Staff Sergeant Buckles was assigned as snare drum section leader and operations chief for the Company and Battle Color Detachment. In 2000, he was selected as the Assistant Drum Major for "The Commandant's Own".

Gunnery Sergeant Buckles was subsequently assigned as the Company Gunnery Sergeant for the Unit and the Battle Color Detachment. Master Sergeant Buckles was then assigned duties as the Company and Detachment's First Sergeant.

Master Sergeant Buckles was promoted to his current rank in February of 2011 and became Senior Enlisted Advisor of “The Commandant’s Own” and Battle Color Detachment.

Master Gunnery Sergeant Buckles' military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Gold Star, in lieu of second award, and the Good Conduct Medal (7th award).

 

Master Sergeant Keith Martinez

Assistant Drum Major/ Company First Sergeant

MSgt Keith Martinez is the Assistant Drum Major of "The Commandant's Own," The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps. A native of Kansas City, Missouri, MSgt Martinez began his music instruction on the trumpet in the Kansas City public school system at age twelve. Before enlisting in May 2000, MSgt Martinez completed two and one half years of study at Missouri Western State University. Following graduation from Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, CA in August 2000, MSgt Martinez completed Marine Combat Training at the School of Infantry in September 2000 before reporting to Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. for duty with "The Commandant's Own," The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps.

Since reporting to Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., MSgt Martinez has served in a variety of duties including performing as a Soprano Bugler, Section Leader, Martial Arts Instructor, Corporal's Leadership Course Instructor for class 1-05, Police Sergeant, Training Chief, Company Family Readiness Officer, Field Crew Staff Non Commissioned Officer in Charge, Assistant Operations Chief, Battle Color Detachment Narrator, and Soprano Section Head. MSgt Martinez assumed his current duties as Assistant Drum Major in April 2009.

MSgt Martinez is a graduate of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Green Belt Instructor Program in January 2002, SNCOA Sergeant's Course 1-04, SNCOA Career Course 1-06, and SNCOA Advanced Course 1-09. MSgt Martinez is also finishing his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics at Strayer University in Alexandria, VA.

MSgt Martinez's personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal (4th award).