By Sterling McGinn

Newberry resident Jalen Taylor, had always wanted to join the military. The 2022 Newberry High School graduate joined the U.S. Navy after school, and after finding success there, will now be one of an elite crew who will represent the President, Joint Armed Forces, and Navy at public ceremonies around Washington, D.C.

Taylor, the son of James and Dawnylle Taylor of Newberry, recently became a member of the United States Navy Ceremonial Guard.

“He has always wanted to join the military since he was little,” said Taylor’s mother, Dawnylle. The Taylor family moved to Newberry when Jalen was in third grade. “He wanted to serve his country and make a better life for himself.”

He enlisted in the United States Navy six months ago and recently completed a 10-week training program to be considered as a member of the ceremonial guard, which is composed of 200 enlisted Navy personnel.

During the training, members are schooled in marching and rifle drill and the daily labor of physical and uniform standards, which are demanded of the personnel. They must also meet stringent physical requirements, and must be at least 6 feet tall.

The Navy hand-selects members for the ceremonial guard while they are attending boot camp at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois. Taylor was one out of three from his class of over 600 who tried out.

There are several platoons within the ceremonial guard, which was established in 1931. Platoons include Firing Party for Naval servicemen being interned at Arlington, Color Guard, and Casket Bearer, and Ceremonial Drill Team. The Drill Team performs throughout the U.S. and different parts of the world.

Taylor will serve in the Color Guard platoon.

The Navy Ceremonial Guard participates in prestigious events and ceremonies including funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, U.S. Presidential inaugurations and the welcoming of foreign officials.

“His father and I could not be prouder of what he has accomplished so far,” Dawnylle said. “We are excited to see what his future holds.”

Seaman Taylor will be stationed at Anacostia Annex, Washington D.C. for the next two years.