The Color Sergeant carries the national ensign during ceremonies, the presidential colors for all White House state functions and tours, and carries the national ensign with the Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment. He’s head of the Marine Color Guard section of Company A, Marine Barracks Washington, which performs at parades, ceremonies and official functions around the United States and abroad.
The Color Sergeant billet is usually a two-year tour open to sergeants in all military occupational specialties who meet the 6-foot, 4-inch minimum height requirement, can obtain a White House security clearance and possess the leadership skills to head the section as its noncommissioned officer-in-charge.
• Age and hometown: 28 from Dover, Pa.
• MOS: Air traffic control navigational aids technician
• Time in Service: Four years and eight months
Marines magazine: What inspired you to become a Marine? SGT. Eric Allen Humer:
My first inspiration to join the Marine Corps was my grandmother who is a former Marine. I think that it’s awesome she served in our Corps. It’s a bond we have. I still call her and greet her with “Semper Fi, Marine.”
How did you hear about the Color Sergeant position? Sgt. Maj. (Shelley D.) Sergeant suggested I submit a package and interview for the position. I interviewed with the 8th and I sergeant major that same day.
What were your initial thoughts about the position? Has drill always been a passion of yours? What an opportunity. I was truly excited even thinking about having that distinction. I love drill. I remember being in boot camp, thinking of how I would remember drilling to cadence. I’ll never forget how awesome that was.
What was the selection process like? How many others were you up against? I was one of more than 90 applicants for the position. The top four of us (were flown) out to Marine Barracks 8th and I for a week of interviews, question and answer boards, a physical fitness test and ceremonial drill. That week was intense and high velocity.
What was your first day like? My first thought when I arrived was “I can’t believe I get to be here.” 8th and I has an aura to it, just think of all of the leaders who came through these doors.
What was the most difficult thing for you to adjust to since becoming the color sergeant? I’m an air winger and over night I was the platoon sergeant for 26 grunts – not an easy transition.
What is a typical day in the color guard section? Busy. The color guard section performs more than 1,000 ceremonies annually. It is my job to ensure the timely completion and precision of those events. I drill every day, mostly to practice for Tuesday Sunset Parades and Friday Evening Parades. I perform at events on weekdays, weekends and holidays. I ensure all annual training is complete and I am the subject matter expert on Title 4 of the U.S. Code, the Marine Corps flag manual and the barracks standard operating procedure on ceremonial drill for the Color Guard section.
What has been the most memorable moment of your time at Marine Barracks Washington? During the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima, I was on top of Mt. Suribachi. Being there is one of the most influential experiences of my life.
What officials have you had the opportunity to meet since arriving here? I’ve met President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, the commandant of the Marine Corps, the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps and many other general grade officers from all over the world.
What are your aspirations after you complete this billet and move on? My career aspirations involve deploying to Afghanistan with my next unit, then Marine Security Guard duty and eventually, before I retire, it is my goal to be a sergeant major.
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