The Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon is an iconic symbol of the discipline and tradition of the Corps. The 24-man rifle platoon performs unique silent precision exhibition drills at sporting events, military gatherings, and other spectacles.
To become a part of a silent drill team, one must exhibit the precision, professionalism, and dedication to the craft that very few possess. Only a few hand-selected Marines have the honor of training to become a silent drill team member.
Lance Cpl. Frank Gonzales, assistant drillmaster with SDP, shares his role and experiences with this elite platoon of Marines in a video from the Marines YouTube channel.
Check out what he has to say about his experience below:
As assistant drillmaster, Gonzales’ job is simple: ensure that the drillmaster gets what he wants. What a drillmaster wants from his Silent Drill Platoon is the utmost perfection with every performance.
With every step, every hand movement, and every big transition, the 24-man team must remain in perfect harmony from start to finish. The purpose of their performance is to both represent the Marine Corps and honor those who served, and the show they put on is a sight to behold.
In training for a precision, Gonzales explains that it is one of the most taxing experiences he has ever dealt with as a Marine.
“We’ll wake up, and we’ll go rehearse. We’ll just practice, practice, practice,” Gonzales says.
“It’s long hours. Your body is tired. You’re exhausted. It’s physically demanding,” Gonzales says of being part of the drill team. “It’s also mentally demanding.”
For Gonzales, being part of the drill platoon is bigger than executing a flawless precision.
“It’s a representation of the Marine Corps. It’s the face,” Gonzales says. “When we go out and they see it, they see us.”
“As soon as this year was finished, I started to realize the importance and the actual meaning to be assigned to this platoon,” he explains. “It’s not the drill. It’s not the shows. It’s the Marines that are handpicked and chosen to represent it all.”
Members of the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon serve two-year assignments and perform both throughout the United States and abroad.