Oct. 21, 2014 --
Part of the mission of “The President’s Own” is to provide music for the Commandant of the Marine Corps. The mission does not dictate that the members of the Marine Band get to know and befriend the most senior general of the Marine Corps, but with Gen. James Amos, that was the case.
“The band’s relationship with Gen. Amos has always been very strong,” said Executive Assistant to the Director Major John R. Barclay. “He and his wife Miss Bonnie have a true love of music and always appreciated the opportunity to have musicians over to entertain during their official functions. They’ve been loyal advocates of the Marine Band—great supporters of the organization.”
On Oct. 17, 2014, Gen. James F. Amos, the 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps, relinquished command of the Marine Corps to Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. The Marine Band marched a pass-in-review for the incoming Commandant and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the outgoing senior Marine Corps general. This was the last time the band marched for Gen. Amos as commandant, and it was bittersweet for Assistant Drum Major Staff Sgt. Steven Williams.
“Gen. Amos and his wife never missed an opportunity to personally and publicly thank us and truly show us that they care,” he said. “They will be missed not only on a professional but also personal level. To see the CMC and Miss Bonnie walk up and actually ask how I was doing and how my daughters were doing always meant the world to me. And it was always a thrill before certain Friday evening parades to hear them wish us good luck before we stepped off to perform.”
Drum Major Master Sgt. Duane King said, “Serving as Drum Major during Gen. Amos’ time as Commandant was an honor. He and Mrs. Amos always made us feel as if we were a part of their family. I think I speak for all those who have drum majored at Marine Barracks over the past seven years when I say that we will always cherish our time and relationship with the Amos family.”
Gen. Amos not only supported the band at Friday Evening Parades, but he also recently served as the retiring official for the band’s Drum Major Change of Command ceremony at John Philip Sousa Band Hall and the band’s Change of Command ceremony at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center in Alexandria, Va. In 2010, he attended the annual Sousa Grave Ceremony honoring the late John Philip Sousa at Congressional Cemetery.
“There was a hole in the band’s formation due to a grave marker in the way,” explained assistant principal trombone Master Gunnery Sgt. Charles Casey. “The Commandant got out of his vehicle and jumped into our formation! It was definitely memorable.”
After seven years of supporting Gen. and Mrs. Amos as Assistant Commandant and Commandant, members of the Marine Band wish them both “Fair winds and following seas.”
Photos of the Retirement Ceremony
Photos of Gen. Amos and the Marine Band over the Years
View the Passage of Command Ceremony