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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 James Foley

Director/Commanding Officer

Major 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 a Warrant Officer by the President in March of 2010. He served as the unit's Operations Officer from 2010-2014. He was promoted to the rank of Captain in December 2014 becoming the Company Executive Officer. He assumed duties as the sixth Director and seventh Commanding Officer of the United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps on 27 July 2018.

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.

Major 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.

Major 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, Major 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. Major Foley is active as a clinician, arranger, and guest performer.

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.


Captain Nathan Morris

Assistant Director/Executive Officer

Captain 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 Executive Officer, Operations Officer and Assistant Director for the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps.

Captain 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.

Captain 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.

Captain 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.


Warrant Officer Courtney Lawrence

Assistant Director/Operations Officer

Warrant Officer Courtney R. Lawrence is the Operations Officer and an Assistant Director for “The Commandant’s Own,” The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps. A native of Houston, Texas, she completed three years toward her Bachelors in Music Education degree at the University of Houston prior to enlisting in the Marine Corps in 2008. Following graduation from Recruit Training in Parris Island, SC, she completed Marine Combat Training at the School of Infantry – East and then reported to Marine Barracks Washington D.C. for duty with “The Commandant’s Own.”

Warrant Officer Lawrence has served in a variety of billets to include Euphonium Section Leader, Chief Music Librarian, Drill Master, and Brass Instructor. She attended the Warrant Officer Basic Course at The Basic School, Quantico, VA in 2019, and assumed her current responsibilities in June of 2019.

Warrant Officer Lawrence began playing piano at a young age, saxophone at age 11, and trombone at age 12. She attended Clear Brook High School in Friendswood, TX, and studied Music Education at the University of Houston, participating in marching, concert, and jazz ensembles. She was a marching member of the World Champion Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps from Rockford, IL from 2004-2008. She was an instructor with their Brass Staff from 2010-2011, and is returning for the 2020 season. She was also an instructor with the Brass Staff of the World Champion Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps from Santa Clara, CA from 2017-2019, winning the Jim Ott Best Brass Performance Award in 2018.

Warrant Officer Lawrence graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Music from George Mason University in 2015. She is an alumni member of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity.

Her personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Gold Star (second award), and Good Conduct Medal (third award).


Master Gunnery Sergeant Keith Martinez

Drum Major

Master Gunnery Sergeant (MGySgt) Keith Martinez is the Drum Major and Senior Enlister Advisor of "The Commandant's Own," The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps. A native of Kansas City, Missouri, MGySgt Martinez began his music instruction on the trumpet at age twelve, then went on to study at Missouri Western State University before enlisting in the Marine Corps in May of 2000. Following graduation from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, CA, MGySgt Martinez completed Marine Combat Training at the School of Infantry West in September of 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., MGySgt Martinez has served in a variety of duties including performing as a Soprano Bugler, Section Leader, Martial Arts Instructor, Corporal's Leadership Course Instructor, Police Sergeant, Training Chief, Company Family Readiness Officer, Field Crew Staff Non Commissioned Officer in Charge, Assistant Operations Chief, Battle Color Detachment Narrator, Soprano Section Head, and Parade Adjutant.

In April of 2009, after an audition, MGySgt Martinez was selected by a leadership panel and assumed duties as the Assistant Drum Major and Company Gunnery Sergeant of the "Commandant's Own." In August of 2013 he was promoted to Master Sergeant and assumed the responsibilities of the Company First Sergeant. MGySgt Martinez was promoted to his current rank in August of 2018 and became the Drum Major and Senior Enlisted Advisor of “The Commandant’s Own” and Battle Color Detachment.

MGySgt Martinez's personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal (6th award).


Gunnery Sergeant Joshua Dannemiller

Assistant Drum Major/Company First Sergeant

Gunnery Sergeant Joshua D. Dannemiller is the Company First Sergeant and Assistant Drum Major of “The Commandant’s Own,” The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps. He joined “The Commandant’s Own” in November of 2003 as a contrabass bugler following completion of recruit training at Parris Island and Marine Corps combat training in Camp Lejeune.


Prior to being selected to “The Commandant’s Own,” Gunnery Sergeant Dannemiller toured the country performing with the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps in 2001 and 2002 as a contrabass bugler.  He is a recipient of the John Philip Sousa Band Award and performed with several honor bands across the nation, to include the Bands of America, National Honor Band of America in 2003.


Gunnery Sergeant Dannemiller performs countless ceremonies across the globe, representing the Marine Corps in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators.  Most notably, he performed on the island of Iwo Jima for the 65th anniversary commemoration of the battle of Iwo Jima as well as several performances in Belleau, France. Gunnery Sergeant Dannemiller was also featured as a contrabass bugle soloist in four joint performances with the New York Philharmonic at the Lincoln Center. 


In 2008, Sergeant Dannemiller was selected as the contrabass bugle section leader.  Two years later, he was appointed as the staff non-commissioned officer in charge of ceremonial field crew which features 36 Marines performing the iconic “Slow March” on Friday Evening Parades at Marine Barracks Washington D.C.  In 2010, Staff Sergeant Dannemiller was selected as the low brass instructor and in 2012 he was appointed as the principal brass instructor.  In October of 2015, Staff Sergeant Dannemiller was promoted to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant and in October 2016, he was selected as the Assistant Drum Major of “The Commandant’s Own” and assumed an additional role as the Company Gunnery Sergeant. 


Gunnery Sergeant Dannemiller is pursuing a Baccalaureate of Interdisciplinary Music Studies at the Berklee College of Music and is very active in the music community playing with orchestras and small ensembles in the metro DC area. His personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Gunnery Sergeant Dannemiller is married to his wife Tobi and they reside in Alexandria, Virginia.