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The United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon is a rifle platoon that performs a unique precision drill exhibition with no verbal commands. Also known as the "Marching 24", this highly disciplined platoon exemplifies the professionalism associated with the Marine Corps. The Silent Drill Platoon first performed in the Sunset Parades of 1948 and received such an overwhelming response that it became a regular part of the parades at the Marine Barracks at 8th & I street in Washington, D.C. Today, the Silent Drill Platoon travels all over the world entertaining tens of thousands of people all the while displaying the cool calm and unparalleled close order drill of an elite warrior tribe.
Discipline, self-control, and honor are just some of the defining characteristics of a U.S. Marine, but those who serve on the 24-man Silent Drill Platoon (SDP) are a cut above, they are tribal. In October of each year, SDP prospects are hand-selected from the Schools of Infantry at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and Camp Pendleton, California. After a detailed interview process and rifle drill audition conducted by experienced personnel, those Marines selected are assigned a position with the SDP and serve a two-year ceremonial tour.
Once selected, these Marines begin a rigorous training cycle, first at Marine Barracks 8th & I in Washington D.C. and later at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona. The SDP train seven to nine hours a day with a lot of self-added extra hours to perfect the close order drill routine before beginning a tour of the Corps' continental installations. Throughout the year, they perform in front of thousands of spectators at Marine Barracks Washington DC and at numerous events across the country and abroad.
During a performance, the SDP execute perfectly crafted close order drill movements with hand-polished, 10.5 pounds, M1 Garand rifles all with fixed bayonets. The routine concludes with a unique rifle inspection sequence demonstrating elaborate rifle spins and tosses. When experienced team members request to move up in ranks and become rifle inspectors, they go through a series of inspections graded by the rifle inspectors who served in the previous season. Only two Marines per year are selected to become rifle inspectors. They, along with the platoon's drill master, are entrusted with keeping and passing on the unique knowledge and traditions of the Silent Drill Platoon.
While on ceremonial duties, these Marines collaterally train in the field to remain proficient in their military occupational specialty and to hone their infantry skills at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia and Marine Corps Desert Warfare School in Arizona.
Design, Discipline, and Discussion
The majority of people who connect the word "discipline" and the Marine Corps, envision a Paris Island Drill Instructor screaming at a bunch of ragtag recruits on Paris Island (USMC Recruit Training Depot). There is a lot of screaming, but it has a purpose and that is to instill a warrior mindset and the Marine Corps mantra of "Discipline is the instant willing obedience to all lawful orders". Throughout history, close-order formations played an important part in the fighting efficiency of a military unit. Strict discipline was needed to fight in close proximity battles where chaos reigned. That is why the Marine Corps places so much emphasis on close-order drill, parade ceremony and sound military formation movement.
Successful people have discipline in their life. A group of disciplined people with a focused objective are tribal. Discipline is a crucial component that leads to vocational, personal, spiritual, and financial success in everyday life. Ask yourself the following questions on the four success points I just mentioned.
1. Am I focused on the things that need to be done?
2. Can I increase my activity level if needed?
3. Can I have better self-control?
4. Can I create more time in my daily life?
5. Do I get respect and do I give respect?
6. Can I be tribal?
We live in the real world, with responsibilities, issues, vices, and weaknesses. Discipline provides structure, structure creates knowledge and knowledge gives purpose. Discipline, structure, knowledge, and purpose are tribal and that equals freedom. By focusing on what needs to be done on a consistent basis, by remaining calm when life`s problems arise and staying the course with only small needed adjustments you can create your own tribe.
When you are a disciplined person, every area of your life improves and so does your tribe.