MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Without a word, precision was conquered Friday as 24 steps became one at Camp Pendleton. Silent drill was just one of the many celebrated traditions as the Battle Color Detachment showcased unparalleled discipline and exceptional talent, attracting several thousand spectators last week to the 52 Area and Mainside performances.
“The Silent Drill Platoon works magic with their weapons and the Drum and Bugle Corps plays like nobody you can imagine,” said Col. James B. Seaton III, commanding officer, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, during the ceremony. “This group here might entertain us, but they are also carrying on our tradition; a tradition that started before the birth of our country.”
The Battle Color Detachment is comprised of the Silent Drill Platoon, the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and the Marine Corps Color Guard. The units travel across the country to perform from their home at Marine Barracks Washington, the oldest active post in the Corps.
Their hour-long ceremony celebrates the pride, professionalism and esprit de corps that are hallmarks of United States Marines and represent all Marines around the globe who embody the core values of honor, courage and commitment.
Both performances began with songs orchestrated by more than 80 Marine musicians with the Drum and Bugle Corps dressed in ceremonial red and white uniforms. The unit is commonly referred to as “The Commandant’s Own” and is currently the only Drum and Bugle Corps in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Following the musical entourage, the 24-man Silent Drill Platoon performed precise drill movements conducted completely without verbal commands. Ten-pound M1 rifles with fixed bayonets flew from Marine to Marine displaying unparalleled precision.
“This display of precision and discipline is the embodiment of American strength,” said Wes K. Koehler, Vietnam veteran and audience member at the Mainside performance. “The flawless perfection goes to show that these guys really are the best of the best.”
Saluting and celebrating the streamer-filled Battle Colors of the Marine Corps concluded the elaborate evening. The 54 streamers adorning the Battle Colors represent the history and accomplishments of Marines from the American Revolution to today.
“Drill and tradition is the essence of the Corps,” said Sgt. Daniel Anderson, Silent Drill Platoon, Marine Barracks Washington. “We represent Marine Corps traditions and perform to reconnect with the public.”
The ceremony’s guest of honor at Mainside was Maj. Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, division commander, 1st Marine Division.
Friday’s performances were commanded by Capt. Rollin A. Steele, platoon commander, Silent Drill Platoon, Marine Barracks Washington.
“We perform to inspire the youth and honor the veterans,” said Lance Cpl. James T. Torrez, Silent Drill Platoon, Marine Barracks Washington. “Our performances are also there to remind everyone what a close brotherhood the Marine Corps is and always will be.”