Silent Drill Platoon Wows Big Crowd at Pro Football Hall of Fame

Silent Drill Platoon Wows Big Crowd at Pro Football Hall of Fame

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After watching the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon from a low vantage point at the edge of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s mini-field, Phil Yakunich rose to his feet with a wide smile.

“Wow. That was good,” he said.

His reaction was shared by men, women and children in a crowd estimated at 700 on Wednesday afternoon as the Hall of Fame hosted a special performance by the high-precision unit based in Washington, D.C.

Yakunich, a North Canton resident who served in the Marines from 1970-73, attended with some friends – a group that included Jim Sullivan of Hartville. Both are members of the Marine Corps McKinley League Detachment #277 of Canton.

Like many other spectators, Sullivan, active duty from 1969 to 1971, proudly wore a U.S. Marine Corps veteran ballcap. His Marine Corps folding chair also let anyone around him know about his passion for the Corps. He had seen the Silent Drill Platoon previously, at a Cleveland Browns game, “but it was nothing like this. This was much better.”

The roughly 16-minute performance covered a small area of the turf field. The 26 men in the Silent Drill Platoon – 24 with M1 Garands and two leaders – complete their routine without a single spoken instruction or other verbal cue. The only sounds come from the platoon members rhythmically striking their rifles or their sides or tapping the rifles on the ground.

“They are very moving. We need more events like this,” said Bill Rodgers, a veteran and member of the Patriot Project. “It makes me feel good to see the young ROTC students out.”

Junior ROTC participants from area schools were among the attendees.

“I’ve heard about them, I’ve seen them on film, but I’ve never seen them in person, and they were really perfect,” Rodgers said.

There were no noticeable mistakes under the watchful eye of SSgt. Henry Truzy, the platoon sergeant. He said the highly selective and competitive unit practices four to five hours per day.

Truzy, from Louisa, Va., said the Silent Drill Platoon will perform 150 to 250 events this year, in addition to regular evening parades on Tuesdays and Fridays at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial) in Arlington County, Va. Their next stop after Canton takes them to New Jersey.

The performance also provided the region’s Marines recruiting company with the opportunity to talk with families and prospective enlistees.

“I can’t tell you how nice it is to be in front of people again,” Maj. Brian Hubert, commanding officer for Recruiting Station Cleveland, said as he introduced the Silent Drill Platoon. “Spread the word: The Marine Corps is hiring.”

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