Electricity filled the air as the eager crowd of hundreds waited with anticipation for the United States Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment to begin their performance at Oak Park & River Forest High School, Oak Park, Ill., yesterday evening as part of Marine Week Chicago.
“It was a great experience seeing the band and Silent Drill Platoon perform for the community of Chicago during Marine Week,” said Seaman Apprentice Zachary P. Dietrich, who recently graduated from U.S. Navy basic training in Great Lakes, Ill., and is awaiting his next assignment for training as a hospital corpsman.
The BCD is made up of three ceremonial units, the Marine Corps Color Guard, the Silent Drill Platoon and the Drum and Bugle Corps, stationed at Marine Barracks Washington D.C. The BCD travels around the country and world to perform for thousands of people a year.
The event began with the United States Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps, also known as the “Commandant’s Own”, performing a rendition of “Music in Motion” – a combination of traditional marching and contemporary music with choreographed drill movements.
The Silent Drill Platoon, a 24-man platoon that performs a unique and precise drill exhibition without using verbal commands followed the Drum and Bugle Corps. The Marines spinning and tossing of hand-polished M1 Garand rifles with fixed (and fully sharpened) bayonets clearly made an impression on the audience.
“There is not a better focused or more disciplined branch of the military that exemplifies the honor and courage it takes to defend this country,” said Kirk Morris, whose son, Pfc. Geoffrey Morris was killed April 4, 2004 in Anbar Province, Iraq.
Morris is also part of the Helping Unite Gold Star Survivors, a non-profit charitable organization designed to help and address the needs of those who suffer the loss of a service member.
“I have been to roughly 60 funerals, and I have to mention the respect that the Marines show for their brethren,” said Morris. “The way the Marines handle the flag, always in a crisp and clean manner, is a final showing of respect for their fallen brethren.”
After the performance of the SDP, the Marine Corps Color Guard, which carries the National Colors and the only official Battle Color of the Marine Corps, marched out onto the field. Once the Color Guard presented the colors as the National Anthem played, the whole detachment conducted a pass-in-review.
Pass-in-review is a drill movement in which the commander-of-troops inspects the troops as they pass in front of him.
At the end of the evening, the members of the BCD came out and interacted with the crowd.
“It is an honor to be part of the Silent Drill Platoon, but it is an even greater honor to come home and represent not only the Marine Corps but myself,” said Chicago native and rifleman, Cpl. Jerremiah Alamo. “It is always nice to come back and perform for the city of Chicago because it shows urban kids that there is more out there.”
The BCD will perform throughout Marine Week around the local area.
For more information of upcoming events, visit www.marine.mil/marineweek.