They march at a cadence of 110 steps per minute.
Their military movements are refined and practiced until they appear as a single precision motion. They combine strict military order, discipline and teamwork to fulfill their responsibilities with pride and determination. They are the young men and women serving in the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard.
Navy Airman Jessica L. Jeter, daughter of Becky Jeter, of Alta, is one of the few chosen to begin her Navy career with this elite group of Sailors at Naval District Washington Anacostia Annex in Washington, D.C.
"I'm currently working as a part of the color guard team for the Ceremonial Guard," said the 2000 graduate of Alta High School. "I was chosen for the color guard because as a female I was one of the few who met the height standards, and because I take great pride in my uniform appearance.
Established in 1931, the Navy Ceremonial Guard is the official ceremonial unit of the U.S. Navy, performing at the nation's most prestigious ceremonies. Members of the Guard also make up part of the President's personal escort during the inaugural parade, and lend a Navy presence for head-of-state arrivals, dinners and receptions at the White House.
Seamen are hand-selected for this prestigious duty directly from Recruit Training Command (RTC) in Great Lakes, Ill., and must meet rigorous screening criteria.
All potential Guard members must first meet a minimum height requirement of 6'0" for non-petty officer males and 5'l0" for females and petty officers. They must meet minimum test score requirements, have outstanding personal appearance and military bearing, and present good moral character with an evident respect for authority. All petty officers must additionally have an outstanding leadership record.
Jeter joined the Navy in July of 2000 and became a member of the Guard in October of the same year. "I joined the Navy to serve and give something back to my country," said Lawson. "My mother also served in the Navy before me."
Sailors interested in becoming a member of the Guard after completing training at RTC must be capable of extended marching and prolonged standing, and be able to participate in ceremonies without the use of glasses. Physical fitness and good natural posture are also required.
The most interesting aspect of being a member of the Navy Ceremonial Guard, Jeter said, is the attention to detail. "Someone is always watching every move a guardsman makes," said the 21-year-old sailor.
"We get a lot of media attention and are the last to put our fellow shipmates to rest."
Members of the Guard also participate in state funerals and Full Honors ceremonies at the Pentagon. One of the unit's more solemn responsibilities is rendering final honors for every Navy funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.