« DoD: Hot line calls rise 40 percent every year | Main | Iraq War Marine With Amputated Leg Back on Active Duty »

Parris Island Marine Band keeps up recruiting efforts

MCRD/ERR PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. (Feb. 26, 2008) -- The Parris Island Marine Band is well known aboard the Depot and in the Lowcountry, but there is more to this band than playing at recruit graduations and parades. Since the Corps is expanding, the band is traveling around the Eastern Recruiting Region to aid recruiters and showcase what the Corps has to offer.


Feb. 26, 2008; Submitted on: 02/29/2008 02:05:42 PM ; Story ID#: 200822914542
By Lance Cpl. Deanne Travis, MCRD Parris Island

The band's main role in recruiting is to show the public the honor, commitment and professionalism Marines possess, said Gunnery Sgt. Travis Antoine, the bandmaster.

The first visit on the recruiting road was to 1st Marine Corps District, where the band played for several high schools and preformed on national television.

Part of the band's mission while on these trips is to help establish good relationships with the school directors and staff.

"Without the band, the recruiters wouldn't be allowed to do what they do," said Capt. Jason Maloney, the executive officer for Recruiting Station Springfield, Mass.
The band helps open the doors to schools that have kept recruiters from coming to visit, said the 36-year-old officer.

While in 1st MCD, the band performed at high schools, where previously, recruiters had limited or no access.

They choose to play at these schools to show the faculty and students the Corps is made up of professionals who follow a set of core values, said Antoine, a 36-year-old from Lake Ariel, Pa.
The school staff is impressed when the band comes in to set up and no one has to be told what to do. This leaves them with a good impression, and they can then speak highly of the band, and the Corps, Antoine added.

"All young people see is the fighting force of the Corps, the band shows them the behind-the-scenes," said Sgt. Derrick Westmoreland, a recruiter for RS Portsmouth, N.H. "They show these kids there are other jobs to do."

The band opens up their minds to all the opportunities the Corps has to offer, said Westmoreland, who is from Chicago.

The band also opens the minds of the schools' staff.

There are some schools, like Tantasqua High School, which is in RS Springfield's area, that have not allowed a recruiter to come to the school for years, Maloney said. Then, when the band comes to play and the staff experiences the professionalism of those Marines and the recruiter, it opens the doors for other opportunities. They seem to react well to the band's performances.

Another positive effect the band has on these areas is when the students go home and tell their parents. The parents always react better hearing from their own child how the performance went and the conversation they might have had afterwards, said Maloney, who is originally from Chicopee, Mass.

After the band performs, students are usually more receptive to talking to recruiters, Westmoreland said.

"They don't always pick up the phone and call, but they will ask a teacher or counselor about the band or the Marine Corps," Westmoreland said. "This provides more opportunities for the students to consider for their futures."

The band has plans to continue their support of the recruiting effort with a trip to eight schools in the 4th MCD.