Photo Information

The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment Caisson Platoon, marines from the “The President’s Own” Marine Band, and marines from the Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. conduct military funeral honors with funeral escort for U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin Hoover in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, Sept. 24, 2021. Hoover died on Aug. 26, 2021, as a result of an enemy attack while supporting non-combatant evacuation operations in Kabul, Afghanistan. Twelve other service members from the U.S. Marines Corps, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Army died in the same attack supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Hoover was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California. Kelly Henson, Hoover’s mother, received the U.S. flag from Hoover’s service. It was presented to Henson by U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Seth Meade, Hoover’s best friend.

Photo by Elizabeth Fraser

Marine Corps’ First Female Silent Drill Platoon Commander

16 Nov 2022 | 1st Lt. Kayla Haas The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

A female artillery officer will make history next week when she becomes the first woman to command the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon.

Capt. Kelsey M. Hastings, a native of Seattle, Washington, was selected to serve as the Silent Drill Platoon Commander for the Marine Barracks Washington 2023 parade season. She will assume command on Monday, Nov. 21.

The Silent Drill Platoon is a 24-Marine rifle platoon that performs a unique precision drill exhibition without verbal cadence or commands. The Marines execute a series of calculated drill movements and precise handling of their hand-polished, 10-and-one-half pound M1 Garand rifles with fixed bayonets. The highly disciplined platoon performs as part of the historic Friday Evening Parade, Tuesday Sunset Parade, and at ceremonies throughout the nation.

 “SDP is often times the face of the Marine Corps, showing the world how elite and professional our organization is, and being selected to lead them is truly an honor." Capt. Kelsey M. Hastings, Silent Drill Platoon

“Kelsey displays a tireless work ethic and high standard of performance that makes her a stand-out performer at Marine Barracks Washington,” said Col. Robb Sucher, commanding officer of Marine Barracks Washington. “I’m excited for her to represent Marine Barracks Washington as a representative of the Marine Corps in this role.”

Hastings, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, was commissioned in May 2017. Upon graduation from the Marine Artillery Officer Basic Course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Hastings reported to 1st Battalion, 12th Marines aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii where she served as a platoon commander, fire direction officer, and battery executive officer.

“It is exciting to be selected as the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon Commander,” said Hastings. “SDP is often times the face of the Marine Corps, showing the world how elite and professional our organization is, and being selected to lead them is truly an honor. I look forward to working with my new Marines and being a face that a little girl can see and envision herself as.”

In 2020 Hastings was selected to serve at Marine Barracks Washington, where she completed Ceremonial Drill School, a three-week course that prepares Barracks officers and staff noncommissioned officers for the unit’s rigorous ceremonial mission. Marines are evaluated on the fundamentals of marching, sword manual, voice commands and uniform preparation.

Hastings will return to the Barracks’ hallowed parade deck as a veteran marcher. She served as a marching platoon commander in 2021 and a marching company executive officer in 2022 before her assignment as the Silent Drill Platoon Commander.