The Silent Drill Platoon competed against drill teams from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard in the 3rd Annual Joint Service Drill Exhibition near the Lincoln Memorial April 10.
Judges representing all five drill teams chose the U.S. Army Drill Team as the winner based on the execution and intensity of the performance.
Each team marched with M1 Garand rifles, but the similarities ended there. The different services employ their own style of drill, a symbol of the unique traditions among each service, said Air Force Staff Sgt. Zach Ritsema, a ceremonial marcher with the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team.
Lance Cpl. Lucas Fassari, a ceremonial marcher with Company A, Marine Barracks Washington, said Marines use ceremonial bearing as an example of what it takes to be a Marine.
“We keep our composure and bearing and execute our drill, which portrays our discipline in the Marine Corps,” said the Huntington Beach, Calif., native.
The platoon had the chance to emphasize their bearing when a Marine dropped his rifle early in the performance. The routine continued, and the Marines continued to perform as if nothing happened. While this wasn’t the preferred result, 1st Sgt. Ramon Nash, Company A first sergeant and a judge for the exhibition, said he liked how the Marines kept moving forward even when something was wrong.
Nash also said the Marines kept the spirit of honor, courage and commitment by picking the weapon up and continuing the performance. .
The exhibition also showcased the Corps’ abilities to the American public. The large crowd of more than 4,000 people showed their appreciation for every difficult maneuver.
“This is the first time I had ever seen them drill, so it was new to me,” said Courtney Jennings, whose husband, Airman 1st Class Arrion Jennings, is a member of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team. “I think all the teams came out and did a really good job.”
The service members appreciated the cheers and the teams worked harder as the crowd got louder, said Ritsema.
“We love the fans,” said the Durham, N.C., native. “It’s just really great to see everyone here to support all of the armed services.”
Nash, a former platoon sergeant for the Silent Drill Platoon, said he loved to hear the crowd when he performed.
“Just hearing the crowd being behind you and chanting those words, ‘United States Marine Corps,’ the ‘ooh-rah’ coming from the crowd,” Nash said. “Honestly, it’s a motivation thing. It lets us know that the American [people] are behind us.”