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Silent drill team, bugle corps awe audience at Parris Island

Cpl. Kevin Courtney, left, tosses an M1 Garande over his shoulder after inspecting it during the Silent Drill Platoon's performance Wednesday morning at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.
Cpl. Kevin Courtney, left, tosses an M1 Garande over his shoulder after inspecting it during the Silent Drill Platoon's performance Wednesday morning at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. BOB SOFALY | The Beaufort Gazette

About halfway through his 13-week stay at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, Recruit William Doss was happy to get a short break from the rigors of training Wednesday.

Doss and his fellow recruits joined depot Marines and hundreds of residents at Parris Island's parade deck for an hour-long performance by the Bugle Corps, the Silent Drill Team and the Marine Corps Color Guard, a four-man unit that carries the official battle colors of the Marine Corps.

"It was nice that they gave us a break from all the stuff we normally have to do," Doss said. "It was also very motivational. We have our initial drill coming up in a few weeks, so to see those guys popping those sticks up like they were was great motivation for us."

The team -- formerly called the 8th & I Battle Colors Detachment -- visited Beaufort for a pair of free performances this week from their duty station at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., a 207-year-old compound located in southeast Washington. The team also performed Tuesday night at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

Stealing the show Wednesday was the Silent Drill platoon, a unit of 24 Marines who performed a series of intricately choreographed maneuvers with polished M-1 rifles with fixed bayonets without verbal commands.

Bernard Rumison of Beaufort said seeing the platoon's performance was worth enduring the sweltering heat Wednesday, which at 10 a.m. packed a heat index of more than 100 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

"I've been out here the past few years to see these guys and there's just nothing like it," he said. "The things they do with those rifles and how in sync they are with each other is incredible to see."

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