The United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon is a 24-man rifle platoon of the United States Marine Corps. Often referred to as The Marching Twenty-Four, the unit performs unique silent precision exhibition drill.
Bayoneted rifles flying from Marine to Marine, the lineup of crisp dress blue uniforms, the rhythmic slap of rifles caught by leather-gloved hands: The Silent Drill Platoon exemplifies Marine Corps discipline, professionalism, precision and skill. Members of the Silent Drill Platoon are handpicked to represent the Marine Corps. Through intense practice, they learn to perform precise rifle drill movements flawlessly for audiences across America—without a single verbal command ever being spoken. The platoon is based at the historic Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., “8th & I.” The Barracks is the oldest active post in the Marine Corps, and is located on the corners of 8th & I streets in southeast Washington, D.C. The Barracks supports both ceremonial and security missions, and is also the home of the Commandant of the Marine Corps.
The Marines execute a series of calculated drill movements and precise handling of their hand-polished 10.5 pounds (4.8 kg) M1 Garand rifles with fixed bayonets. The routine concludes with a unique rifle inspection involving elaborate rifle spins and tosses. All drill movements are done with superfluous spins of the rifle, making the Silent Drill Platoon’s drill unique from other Marine units’ drill movements.
Marines are selected from students at the two Schools of Infantry, located at Camp Pendleton, California, and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, from interviews conducted by barracks personnel. Once selected, Marines are assigned to Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., to serve a two-year ceremonial tour.
Every Marine is first and foremost, a rifleman. This becomes evident in the first days of Marine Corps Recruit Training, as all recruits since World War II have learned to recite the Rifleman’s Creed.
This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.
My rifle, without me, is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will…
My rifle and myself know that what counts in this war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit…
My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage as I will ever guard my legs, my arms, my eyes and my heart against damage. I will keep my rifle clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will…
Before God, I swear this creed. My rifle and myself are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life.
So be it, until victory is America’s and there is no enemy, but peace!
In the video the USMC Silent Drill Platoon when they visited the US Marine Air Station in Beaufort, SC.
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
- “Silent Drill Platoon”. United States Marine Corps.