USMC Silent Drill Platoon Performs At Iconic Iditarod
by Gregory Gilliam
U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Command
March 14, 2023
The United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon electrified the crowd of thousands in downtown Anchorage, Alaska, with a drill show in near-zero-degree temperatures, officially starting the 2023 Iditarod Dog Race during the Ceremonial Start on March 4, 2023.
The Silent Drill Platoon performs for the ceremonial opening of the annual Iditarod in Anchorage, Alaska on March 4, 2023. The visit is part of a joint effort between Marine Barracks Washington and Marine Corps Recruiting Command designed to increase awareness of the Marine Corps and prepare the unit for the upcoming summer parade season at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., the oldest post in the Marine Corps. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Marine Corps photos by SSgt. Sarah Ralph.)
The performance by the Silent Drill Platoon at the 51st annual event was their final performance in Alaska as the unit is set to tour the Pacific Northwest as part of a partnership with Marine Corps Recruiting Command to increase awareness of the Marine Corps and prepare the unit for the upcoming parade season.
“You don’t know how much you being up here means to me and the Marines in Alaska,” said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Michael E. Ogden, commanding officer of the 12th Marine Corps District, to the group of Marines before their performance.
Marine Corps Recruiting Command and Marine Barracks Washington launched the 2023 Marine Barracks Washington Tour on March 3, 2023, when the Silent Drill Platoon left the training grounds at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., and landed in Anchorage to execute various performances. At the same time, the Drum and Bugle Corps and Marine Corps Color Guard wrapped up their final performance in Yuma at Kofa High School.
“I’m proud of the Marines of the Battle Color Detachment’s dedication and the preparation for their upcoming performances,” said U.S. Marine Col. Robb Sucher, commanding officer of Marine Barracks Washington. “The 2023 Northwestern Tour is a collaborative effort with Marine Corps Recruiting Command. We look forward to the unique opportunity to engage with the community and represent the Marine Corps in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington.”
Such preparations included an impressive display of discipline and drill mastery, as the team braved five below-zero temperatures hours before the beginning of the event to adjust their routine to accommodate the narrow streets and large crowds in downtown Anchorage. Hours later, the team executed their performance flawlessly.
The event closed out a whirlwind two-day trip for the team, including performances at West Anchorage High School and a Family Day for future Marines and their families the day prior. Events like these go a long way in building relationships with the community as they gain a better understanding of the Marine Corps.
According to U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Matthew Sullivan, station commander for Recruiting Substation Anchorage, the events will have a lasting impact on the area and the citizens because they connected with people memorably.
“The was a good reminder of why the Marine Corps exists and the level of discipline and dedication that Marines have is unmatched,” said Sullivan.
All elements of the detachment will rejoin for their first performance at the University of Oregon and Recruiting Station Portland’s Family Day on March 5 before continuing to performances in Portland, Oregon, and Spokane and Seattle, Washington.
“Going to the Pacific Northwest, I know there is a limited amount of military exposure, so having the opportunity to bring it to them allows them to see what their life could be,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Kelsey Hastings, platoon commander for the Silent Drill Platoon, she will be returning home to Seattle during the tour. “When we perform, we are able to open people’s world to the military.”
The 2023 Marine Barracks Washington Tour encompasses stops at approximately 10 locations in the northwestern United States. Marines host engagements with local schools, sports teams, and community leaders during this tour.
Throughout this tour, Marines will connect with young people and local community leaders while raising awareness and positive perception of the Marine Corps and its programs.
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