Elite Marine drill platoon to perform at Pro Football Hall of Fame Wednesday

U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon performs while the Blue Angels C-130 Hercules, Fat Albert, flies overhead (U.S. Marine Corps photo taken by LCpl. Aaron James B. Vinculado/Released/TNS)

The U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon will be marching into Canton on June 2 to perform a precision drill exhibition at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The performance at the Hall’s Field Turf, adjacent to the museum, is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and will be free to the public, the hall announced in a statement.

The performance is part of the hall’s Military Appreciation Day celebration. Veterans, reservists, and active duty personnel will also receive free admission to the hall on Wednesday if they show their IDs.

The 24 marines of the Silent Drill Platoon will perform an elaborate inspection drill as well as sequences of spins and tosses with their hand-polished, 10.5-pound M1 Garand rifles with fixed bayonets.

“This group is a highly selective group,” Rich Desrosiers, the hall of fame’s vice president of communications and public relations, said. “They are the best in the world at what they do.”

Desrosiers added that the invitation to the platoon developed out a relationship the hall has built with the marines in the last year, especially through the Great American Rivalry series which the corps sponsors.

The Silent Drill Platoon was created in 1948 when a performance by a group of marines in Washington, D.C., received such and overwhelming public response that the corps decided to make the it a permanent unit at the Marine barracks in the nation’s capital, according to the platoon’s website.

The members of the elite group are selected each year from the schools of infantry at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Camp Lejeune, N.C., and train in Washington and Arizona before traveling the country and the world performing for their fellow servicemen, the public and foreign dignitaries.

The marines are handpicked for the platoon for their physical appearance and the ceremonial drill skills. The platoon also features two rifle inspectors, who are chosen from the ranks of more experienced marines as well as a Platoon Drill Master, charged with “keeping and passing on the unique knowledge, history and traditions” of the platoon, the hall’s release said.

The Marines will also bring their semi-truck with a marine equipment display and indoor simulated marksmanship trainer.

Desrosiers said that the event will be entirely outdoors, so masks will not be necessary.

“We hope we get a nice crowd to show their appreciation for this group,” he said.


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