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Marine Band Drum Major Dennis E. Carroll
Biography of Marine Band Drum Major Dennis E. Carroll

Dennis E. Carroll enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in October 1964. 

His first assignment after recruit training was the Ceremonial Guard at Marine Barracks Washington. After a Barracks officer reviewed his record and discovered he played the tuba in high school, Carroll was encouraged to audition for the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps. He served as a musician and assistant drum major until he left the Marine Corps in 1968.

Six months later, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Leonard F. Chapman offered him the position of Drum and Bugle Corps drum major, which he accepted. In 1972 he joined the Marine Band as the 32nd Drum Major with “The President’s Own.” The Drum Major billet was held traditionally by the senior drum major from the field music program, but Carroll’s appointment made him the youngest Marine Band Drum Major in history. He was the first to have served as drum major for both the Marine Band and Marine Drum and Bugle Corps.

Carroll served as Drum Major until 1984, when he was selected to become the Marine Band’s executive officer, advising the Marine Band Director on Marine Corps matters. He retired as a major in June 1995. At his retirement, he was awarded the Legion of Merit for “exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service.” Then-Marine Band Director Colonel John R. Bourgeois, remarked, “There is no way I can summarize his many contributions. But having worked closely with Major Carroll since he came to the band, I can honestly say that he is a truly exceptional individual.” Then-Drum Major Master Gunnery Sergeant Dennis R. Wolfe said, “He’s a legend throughout Marine music. He contributed tremendously to the band and established a legacy that will endure for years.”