Color Guard

About Us
We participate in parades, commemorations, church services, and concerts.  The Color Guard over the years has won many awards for its performances. We now recruit color guard members primarily from among the Chapter members and applicants. However, we welcome participation from anybody. Use this website’s “Contact Us” page to let us know if you are interested in participating.

Recent Activities
After a 2 year hiatus, the Massing of the Colors returned to Forest Lawn in February 2023 – this visually amazing and patriotic event has been held for over 30 years. Members of several California Color Guards, including that of the South Coast Chapter, marched in honor of George Washington’s birthday and the Armed Forces of the United States. Below are photos of Shane Gates, Nolan Forrest, Scott Whitman Kevin Forrest, who represented our Chapter in this event, as well as the combined Color Guard:

View photos from past Color Guard events

About the Continental Marine Color Guard Uniform
The Continental Marine Color Guard started with Jim Emerson’s vision. He had seen a handsome Revolutionary militia officer’s uniform made by a compatriot’s wife. She had used a Simplicity pattern issued in 1976 for the Bicentennial. Rather than outfitting a color guard in commercially available costumes he envisioned creating an historically accurate uniform. Since Jim was a former Marine his choice fell on that branch of service. He ordered special woolen cloth from Scotland. Pewter buttons, canteens, hats and other accouterments came from the East Coast. And so, in 1992 and 1993, the Chapter Clothier General was busily employed in manufacturing the great coats and breeches. She had to develop her own patterns for the different sizes involved. Others helped in the tedious job of sewing on buttons (with dental floss) and making vests.

Jim recruited active duty Marines to fill the uniforms. The color guard first appeared at the Fall Board of Manager’s meeting November 1993 in Costa Mesa. We next participated at the Massing of the Colors in February 1994. Then, accompanied by an extra-ordinary fife and drum corps of about 15 musicians, we took the First Place trophy in our category at the Huntington Beach Parade. Since then we have been busy participating in numerous patriotic and commemorative events.

A color guard without music is like a silent movie – something to look at but hardly exciting. We add the resonant sound of the rope tension drums and the shrill sound of the fifes to produce a moving experience.

Color Guard Traditions
Before the 20th century, military colors were carried covered except for ceremonies or when in sight of the enemy.  A unit’s colors provided battlefield recognition for both friend and foe.  These were always the soul and reputation of the unit.  Each regiment had two flags: the national color and a regimental flag.  To ensure that the men knew the flag of their own regiment the two flags were paraded before them during reviews and other ceremonies.  From this practice developed our modern color guard.

Following British custom, American infantry first had a junior officer (called an Ensign) to carry and guard the regimental colors.  Since each company had an Ensign and there were eight companies, the ensigns had to take turns guarding the flags.  Later, the color guards were selected from among the strongest and bravest soldiers.  So the task was performed by enlisted men instead of officers.  They wore the same uniform as other troops.