When the Marine Corps’ elite Silent Drill Platoon begins its busy parade season in late spring 2023, a woman will be in charge for the first time.

Capt. Kelsey M. Hastings assumed command of the 24-person platoon, one of the Marine Corps’ most prestigious ceremonial units, on Nov. 21.

Marines in the platoon perform precision drills while carrying 10.5-pound M1 rifles with fixed bayonets, and they maintain tight pacing without verbal cadence or commands. During the summer parade season, they regularly perform at ceremonies around Washington, D.C.

For now, the Marines stationed at the Marine Barracks Washington, the center of the Corps’ ceremonial activities, are mostly engaged in training.

A Seattle native, Hastings attended the U.S. Naval Academy and artillery officer basic course, and then served at 1st Battalion, 12th Marines, at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, according to a Marine Barracks Washington press release in November. In 2020 she was selected to serve at the barracks, first as a marching platoon commander and then as a marching company executive officer.

“It is exciting to be selected as the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon Commander,” Hastings said in the release.

The Silent Drill Platoon often is “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.”

Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

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