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.

The life of a Continental Marine
During the American War of Independence, many soldiers, sailors, marines and civilians kept journals of their experiences, and we are lucky to have many of these writings survive to the present.

One of these is a journal written by Lt. William Jennison of Milford, Massachusetts. His journal details his time as a Lieutenant in the Continental Marines. As our Chapter Color Guard uses the Continental Marine uniform, this journal may be of added interest.

William Jennison started his military career as a member of the militia that marched to Cambridge in April, 1775. He served in the 13th Massachusetts regiment before being appointed as a Lieutenant in the Marines. Having resigned his appointment to re-enter the Army, he was again re-appointed to the Marines and served until 1780.

Recent Activities

South Orange County California Genealogical Society (SOCCGS) meeting in Mission Viejo
On Saturday October 7th, 2023 the South Coast Chapter Color Guard presented the colors for the South Orange County California Genealogical Society (SOCCGS) meeting in Mission Viejo. In addition to being the first chance for the full (current) Color Guard to participate in a color presentation, it was also the 4th Anniversary of the first event which the re-constituted color guard participated in back in 2019. 

Presenting the Colors for THREE
On Friday September 22nd, a combined Color Guard from the South Coast and Orange County Chapters presented the colors for the opening of the first annual corporate event for THREE, a Proactive Health and Wellness company. The Color Presentation was part of the opening ceremonies at the Anaheim Convention Center in front of over 1,000 attendees.

In attendance were Mike Miller (Orange County) Scott Whitman, Jim Hernandez and Kevin Forrest (South Coast).

Prado Dam Bicentennial Mural Re-dedication
South Coast Color Guard members Jim Hernandez & Kevin Forrest joined Color Guard members from Orange County, Harbor, and Riverside chapters for this amazing event – the re-dedication of the bicentennial mural at Prado Dam. Event organizers requested that the CASSAR Color Guards attend to take some special pictures prior to the event on June 2nd. Adding to this, his Excellency General Washington (Dan Shippey – OC Chapter) was on hand to oversee the “troops.” According to the Riverside County website, 30 students from Corona High School painted the original mural in June of 1976 to celebrate America’s bicentennial. The mural, which is huge at 76,800 square feet, about six times the size of Mount Rushmore, and was repainted starting in September of 2022. Below is a photo of the combined Color Guard present at the event:

Torrance Armed Forces Parade 2023
The 61st Torrance Armed Forces Parade was held on Saturday, May 20 and Color Guard members Kevin and Nolan Forrest participated, representing the South Coast Chapter in the festivities along with other Color Guard units and DAR members. Below are two photos from the event.

El Toro Memorial Park Memorial Day Celebration
On Monday May 29th, the South Coast Color Guard was invited to present and post the colors for the El Toro Memorial Park Memorial Day Celebration again this year, as they have for many years now. Color Guard members Kevin Forrest, Nolan Forrest, Jim Hernandez, and Shane Gates  participated and represented the South Coast Chapter in this event. Members of the Mission Viejo DAR joined in the Color Presentation.

Massing of the Colors 2023
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, and 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.