Remarkable History Behind The Marine Corps Color Sergeant

Flags have been used for centuries to identify various units in military force so that leaders could keep track of the battlefield movements and conditions. This habit has continued to today’s military, but because of modern communication technologies flags are no longer needed on the battlefield. Instead, they have taken on a more ceremonial role.

The video below will give you a picture of how and why battalion and unit flags were used and the use of the “Colors” (the official flag of the United States of America) on the field, but its main purpose is to give an explanation of the important current role of the United States Marine Corps Color Sergeant in today’s Marine Corps.

The official role was established in 1965 with Gunnery Sgt. Selton L. Eakin as the first official Color Sergeant for the Marine Corps. Eakin was killed in action in Vietnam a year later in 1966.

Marine Corps/Cpl. Hailey D. Clay — U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Kenneth J. Newton, presents the colors.

Since then 37 Marines have performed that role. The Marine who is chosen to fulfill this duty has to be a senior sergeant and a model of Marine Corps discipline and values. He becomes the very public face of the United States Marine Corps serving in major ceremonial events as the official representative of the Marine Corps.

The 37th and current Color Sergeant of the Marine Corps is Sergeant Kenneth J. Newton, who previously served as an infantry machine gunner with 1st Battalion, 4th Marines.

Enjoy this short video about the Marine Corps Color Guard.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.
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