Long Island Grenadiers

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The Long Island Grenadiers (a.k.a. Medford Fire Department Grenadiers) was a Junior corps from New York's Long Island. They were directed by Bert "Uncle Bert" Ellis for their entire 34 year existence.


(History written by Uncle Bert for use on the Grenadiers Alumni web site. Reposted here by that site's webmaster.)

  • 1958 Medford Fire Dept. takes over defunct V.F.W. Fife & Drum Corps.
Total of 15 members.
  • 1959 Add bugles - fifers become guidons. Compete in Nassau-Suffolk Assn. Standstill.
  • 1960 Guidons become nucleus for a future color guard - now have 12 bugles - valve & slide
  • 1961 Join new Sound of Suffolk Drum Corps Circuit - corps competes standstill
  • 1962 Move from standstill to M&M corps - a big move
  • 1963 Sound of Suffolk - Class A M&M Champions
Play for John F. Kennedy at Commack Arena
  • 1964 Join new Long Island M&M Circuit - Play for Robert Kennedy at Islip Airport
  • 1965 Join Greater New York M&M Circuit - now competing 2 circuits
Start traveling to Connecticut and Manhattan
  • 1966 Within the corps create a winter competing color guard
  • 1967 Long Island Color Guard Circuit - Class A Champions
  • 1968 Compete L.I. & Greater NY Circuits - compete in American Legion Championships in Buffalo, NY - 11th place
  • 1969 Losing members but compete in American Legion Championship in Syracuse
  • 1970 Lose 26 playing members - merge with Kings Park Kingsmen
  • 1971 Retain Grenadier competing color guard - compete in Metropolitan Circuit
  • 1972 Best flag section - and guard runner-up - Metropolitan Circuit
  • 1973 2nd time runner-up Met Circuit ( we are in a rut )
  • 1974 Guard competes in New Jersey in the Met & Baltimore, MD
  • 1975 Grenadiers re-activate as a Drum & Bugle Corps under Medford Fire Dept.
Sound of Suffolk Class C Champions
  • 1976 Bi-Centennial year - 75 members - 2 camps - Sound of Suffolk -Class A Champs
Play for President Ford at Nassau Coliseum
  • 1977 Year of building - 90 members (18 P, 43 H, 33 CG & major )
2 camps - do Sunriser Show and lots of parades
  • 1978 New horn & drum instructors - new outlook - complete change in sound - topping 100 members - first show L.I.M&M win by 8 points - runner up for season - plenty of F.D. parades
  • 1979 Continue climbing - rifle line doing great ( 32 CG, 38 H, 17 P )
  • 1980 Compete in Garden State Circuit - more travel - New Jersey, Connecticut & Maryland
  • 1981 After marching for the Medford Fire Dept. For 25 years - the Grenadiers become self-supporting - have buses - Incorporate, with the lawyer Mr. Mars doing the leg work for free
  • 1982 Compete in Garden State Circuit with Philadelphia PAL, Fantasia, Blue Max, Lancers & NY Vanguard
Paraded for Governor Mario Cuomo and New York State Assemblyman Bill Bianchi in Patchogue, NY
  • 1983 Finally capture Garden State Championship - next day win Northeast Championship in Delaware
  • 1984 Start two tours - Rochester, NY for V.F.W. Championship (2nd) - D.C.I. at Rome, NY, Watkins Glen, NY, Pittsfield, MA (Guard wins Best Guard in DCI parade), Allentown, PA, & Toms River, NJ.
Second tour ended in Atlanta, GA - D.C.I. Championship - 10th in Division II. A GREAT YEAR. Remember the armories.
Played for Vice-President George Bush at the Colonie Hill, Long Island NY
  • 1985 With so many members aging out - a year of re-building
  • 1986 Bleak year - try every recruiting technique
  • 1987 Enter newly formed U.D.C.A. Circuit
  • 1988 Continue to compete and do 2 camps & parades - win U.D.C.A. M&M Championship
  • 1989 Compete U.D.C.A.Circuit (19 H, 15 P, 8 CG, 1 flag elf )
Runner-up in M & M Division
  • 1990 Compete U.D.C.A. Finals with a total of 45 members
  • 1991 Last ever show was performed by the Long Island Grenadiers at Raider Stadium in August 1991 with 17 H, 15 P, 10 CG
  • 1992 L.I. Grenadiers dissolved by Director "Uncle Bert" Ellis on March 10, 1992 - due to lack commitment of some of the members - A heart breaking thing to do after 34 years
To all the wonderful members of the Grenadiers:
Thanks for the memories and for all those years.
"Uncle Bert"
"Aunt Ethel"

  • 1999 41 years from the corps' inception a Reunion Committee was formed - with the following goals:
  • West Sayville Golden Eagles Drum & Bugle Corps would sponsor the event underwriting the cost of stamps, envelopes, flyers, heroes, salads, and beverages.
  • 700 flyers were sent with an additional 260 unknown addresses remaining.
  • Reunion to be held in May for marching members only (due to space limits)


  • The corps usually held 2 weekend camps in mid-May and early June. The bulk of that summer's show would be learned and cleaned up during these weekends.


  • The Theme from Magnum, PI was a long-time staple from the early 1980's on. Even when not being used in field shows, it was useful as a parade tune.
  • 1981 - New World Symphony (Dvorak), Everybody Loves the Blues, Comedian (Drum Solo), Bellavia (Chuck Mangione), Bolero
  • 1983 - Conquistador, Loco-Oddo (Drum Solo), Rainmaker, Theme from Magnum PI, Come in From the Rain
  • 1984 - Conquistador, Loco-Oddo (Drum Solo), Rainmaker, In Like a Lion (aka "Boom!"), Netherlands

External Links

Long Island Grenadiers Alumni Archive