The Evening Parade at the Marine Corps Barracks

The Silent Drill Platoon performs at the Marine Corps Barracks on June, 11th.

Washington D.C. - The United States Marine Corps 55th OCS/7-69 TBS class gathered in the stands on the parade grounds of the Marine Corps Barracks located at the corner of 8th and I SE.  It was the final event of their reunion that began down in Quantico, VA on Thursday.

Many of these men had not seen each other in nearly 40 years.  They had come together at one time as strangers and they were here now showcasing a bond that was unlike any other and is difficult to fully comprehend to those who were not involved.  The Evening Parade at the Marine Corps Barracks symbolizes what that bond meant to these men.

The Marine Barracks Washington was established on March 31, 1801.  The site for the Barracks was personally selected by Thomas Jefferson, riding through the capital city with the Second Commandant Lieutenant Colonel William Ward Burroughs and is the oldest active post of the United States Marine Corps, housing every Marine Commandant since being completed in 1806.  The “Home of the Commandants”, located at the north end of Barracks is the oldest continuously occupied building in the capital.

The sun was almost down at 8:45 pm as “The President’s Own” United States Marine Corps Band marched on the field.  The Band collects the best musicians from conservatories and music schools across the country to tour and perform at the White House more than 200 times a year.

The Drum Major wearing his bearskin headpiece and his ceremonial mace led the Band on to the field in their traditional red tunics.  They marched in rows playing a medley of rising music that resonated throughout the crowd.

Following soon after was the “The Commandant’s Own” The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps.  They appeared in their scarlet tunics, which is to distinguish musicians from troops on the battlefield.

The real highlight of the evening for the class though was the appearance of The United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon.  Early in their training in Quantico decades ago, the Silent Drill Platoon was brought out to impress upon the new recruits exactly what the Marine Corps expected of them.

The Silent Drill Platoon marched out on to the field in rows, hitting the butts of their rifles in unison creating a nearly deafening sound and signifying an unspoken authority.  After stopping, the Silent Drill Platoon made their presence known out on to the field to present themselves for inspection.

What happened next was a series intricate choreography.  The complex movements that they were able to perform with polished M-1 Garand rifles were nothing short of astounding.  The gleam of the bayonets atop the rifles dazzled as the rifles was spun with absolute precision.

The Silent Drill Platoon performed these maneuvers all the while staying in formation.  They are the prime example of the excellence and professionalism that the Marine Corps has been striving to achieve since the branches inception.  Even decades later, the Silent Drill Platoon is able to send a chill up the spine of every member of the 55th OCS/7-69 TBS class and typifies what makes them proud to be among the tradition of the Marine Corps.

The night is capped off with an appearance by the Marine Corps official mascot L Cpl. Chesty XIII and the Presenting of the Colors.  The Color Guard presents the official Battle Color of the Marine Corps, decorated with 54 streamers and silver bands to represent every campaign in which the Marine Corps took part.

The night is timed with absolute precision to be an hour and fifteen minutes.  The pomp and circumstance is the perfect symbol of the professionalism and discipline that is a source pride within the Marine Corps.

The Evening Parades take place every Friday this summer at the Marine Corps Barracks on 8th and I streets SE, Washington DC until August 27th.

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Stephen Bradley

Stephen Bradley is an avid music listener and an occasional writer.  He grew up in the Washington DC area and has been embedded in the local music scene for years.  Currently he lives in Vienna, VA.   He enjoys bands that have been broken up for at least a decade.

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