The United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Team is officially known as The Silent Drill Platoon. They are part of Company A, Marine Barracks, which provides support for Joint Service Commitments at the Pentagon. In addition they also perform at Ceremonies and Parades around Washington DC, as well as provide support for the Sunset parade on Tuesday Evenings at the Marine Corps War Memorial as well as The Evening Parade on Friday Evenings at The Barracks. They hail from Marine Barracks, Washington DC, also known affectionately as 8th and I, The Oldest Post In The Corps.
The Marine Corps was founded at Tuns' Tavern outside Philadelphia in 1775, but it was not until 1948 that The Silent Drill Platoon first exhibited their rifle and drill expertise. Without any verbal commands, their performance was so exemplary, that it soon became part and parcel to many parades and ceremonies throughout Washington, DC.
A Minimum of Thirty-Nine Marines are chosen from the ranks of enlisted Marines at Infantry Training School to serve in The Silent Drill Platoon, and normally serve a two year tour. In addition the Rifle Inspectors are chosen out of their ranks and it is only them that the secrets are handed down to the next Platoon Rifle Inspectors in manner and tradition accustomed to the Corps .
The Marines use a 10 1/2 pound fully functional M1 Garand Rifle with Fixed Bayonet. In addition to no verbal commands given, this precision USMC silent drill team ends each performance with an inspection routine that will marvel your mind with how it is done. For this portion the bayonets get holstered.
The Evening Parade is held every Friday evening from May through August. The ceremony starts at 8:45 p.m., beginning with a concert by the United States Marine Band. The Evening Parade, held every Friday evening during the summer, has become a universal symbol of the professionalism, discipline, and Esprit de Corps of the United States Marines. The story of the ceremony reflects the story of Marines throughout the world. Whether they be aboard ships, in foreign embassies, at recruit depots, in divisions, or in the many positions and places where Marines project their image, the individual Marine continually tells the story of the Corps.
Evening of the Parade Information Seating for the Evening Parade at Marine Barracks generally requires a reservation . Guests with reservations are admitted beginning at 7:15 p.m. and should arrive no later than 8 p.m. Guests arriving after 8 p.m. are not guaranteed their reserved seating. There is no charge for admission. At the time the reservation is confirmed, a numbered admission gate is assigned to which guests should report on the evening of the parade. At approximately 8:15 p.m., guests without reservations who are waiting outside the Main Gate of the Barracks are offered unclaimed seats. As a security precaution, all guests entering the Barracks pass through magnetic detection devices. No weapons of any kind, including knives, are allowed inside the Barracks.
In the States, the Silent Drill Platoon performs regularly on Friday evenings during the summer at 8th and I, in Washington DC. If you are in Washington, D.C., be sure to take the time to see this performance. You owe it to yourself to view this once in a lifetime example of what discipline and precision mean when one is a United States Marine. The history and pride in the corps demonstrated by these young marines show the patriotism many feel when viewing this performance.