Local man assumes prestigious command position in Marine Corps
By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Windsor Locks - posted Thu., Dec. 6, 2012
The United States Marine Corps is the largest marine force in the world, but they often go unnoticed due to a lack of exposure to the general public. Odds are when a person gets a chance to see a Marine, they are on the nightly news overseas in their camouflage outfits, combating and engaging the enemy to defend the interests of the United States, as well as protecting embassies and their diplomats and representatives. When not in their camouflage, a Marine can be seen in his or her dress blues at home providing humanitarian efforts for organizations like Toys for Tots, as well as in foreign countries for disaster relief and relief aid. Above and beyond their duties, a Marine’s main purpose is to represent the United States honestly and favorably.
A Windsor Locks native will be looked upon to continue serving the country honorably and favorably as he took another step up in the Marine ranks and assumed command of Company A at the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C. Capt. David Bouchard assumed commandership of Company A in a ceremony at the barracks on Nov. 19. Bouchard’s commandership is particularly prestigious because he is taking over the oldest post of the Marine Corps. Company A has been in Washington since 1801, with the company currently consisting of about 150 infantry Marines and being the home of the United States Silent Drill Platoon and the Marine Corps Color Guard.
The same barracks that house Company A are also the official residence of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, typically the highest-ranking officer in the Marines and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the United States Department of Defense.
“First and foremost it is humbling,” Bouchard said. “There is a great deal of responsibility and weight that I have felt associated with this position. To be responsible for the training, morale, welfare and discipline of these Marines is very daunting, but very humbling.”
The Washington, D.C., Barracks provide emergency preparedness and security forces for Camp David and the White House Communications Agency, as well as military correspondence courses for Marines and other services through the Marine Corps Institute. Additionally, Bouchard is responsible for training his Marines in order to maintain proficiency in Marine occupational specialties and career fields, as well as to meet their annual Marine Corps training requirements.
As commander of Company A, Bouchard is also responsible for leading the Marine Corps Honor Guard. He leads Marines in hundreds of ceremonies and functions throughout the course of a year, including funeral escorts for Marines and dignitaries as well as performing for state functions at the White House, the Pentagon and other landmarks in the nation’s capital, in front of general officers, notable figures, and foreign and domestic heads of state. Company A can be seen at various sporting events throughout the country and in more than 30 parades, including the Friday evening parade in Washington, D.C., and the Tuesday Sunset Parade at the Iwo Jima Memorial. Bouchard is one of the few visible Marines and in many ways is one of a select few who are exposed to the public to reflect the ideals of the Marine Corps.
“To be able to interact with the civilian population from just families from across the country to locals here is a very positive experience; it’s a very rewarding experience, too,” Bouchard said. “The Marines represent what is best about this country. The Marines are full of honorable, ethical decision-makers, responsible men and women, who have essentially stood up and taken an oath to put their life on the line every day for the people of this country. To be able to show them what we do, to show them who we represent is a very rewarding and humbling task.”
Bouchard’s journey to the post of company commander started after he earned his bachelor’s degree from Temple University. After college in August of 2006, he was commissioned in the Marine Corps, where he began serving as an enlisted Marine. He attended The Basic School at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Va., before his assignment to the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C., at the corner of 8th and I streets. During his six-year career, Bouchard has earned a Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medal, a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Medal.
“I don’t know if I ever expected it [assuming commandership of Company A],” Bouchard said. “I knew in my career, if I was fortunate enough to stay in the Marine Corps long enough to stick around, that one day I would be in a position where I could perhaps be a company commander. And sure enough, everything kind of lined up and I was fortunate enough to get selected for this. I was always looking forward to the opportunity to it.”
The modest and unassuming Bouchard credits the Marines he has directed and guided as the reason he was appointed to the commandership. Bouchard believes his Marines have performed well during testing and on various challenges, while typically being ahead of the pack in many facets of their daily responsibilities and duties.
“They have always performed honorably, respectfully, and they have always done outstanding in their daily duties,” Bouchard said. “It is solely because of them that I am in this position. It is the subordinate leaders that I have working in my Company and subordinate leaders I have had working alongside me and with me throughout my previous duty assignments that have allowed me to be in this position today.”