The First Lady within the Marines’ Silent Drill Platoon and the Household Historical past That Led to Her New Command

When Kelsey Hastings was a younger woman, she went to a summer time pageant in Seattle. Amongst these performing that weekend was the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, a crew of Marines that executes extremely exact routines filled with spins and tosses of their hand-polished M1 Garand rifles with fastened bayonets.

“I noticed them and I used to be like, ‘That’s the coolest factor I’ve ever seen in my life,'” Hastings stated.

Twenty years later, she is main the storied 24-Marine unit as its first feminine member and commander.

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The Marine Corps press launch that introduced the groundbreaking posting final week lauded now-Capt. Hastings’ “tireless work ethic and excessive commonplace of efficiency” and known as her “a stand-out performer.” But it surely’s her overwhelming enthusiasm and affection for the Corps that is most obvious when she talks about her new position. was in a position to interview Hastings on Wednesday at Marine Barracks Washington — itself a historic place that boasts being “the oldest submit of the Corps.”

In the course of the dialog, Hastings stated that she by no means got down to be a primary for something, as a substitute specializing in her work. The nomination to steer the Silent Drill Platoon got here from the commander of the Marine barracks, Col. Robb Sucher.

Hastings recalled being in a gathering with Sucher when he requested her, “Hey, that is the position that I need to put you in. … Is that one thing you are ready for?”

“These are some top-notch guys so I’m like, ‘Oh, positive, I will lead them,'” she stated earlier than bursting out in amusing, considered one of many in the course of the dialog.

The Marine officer stated she joined the Corps to comply with in her dad’s footsteps; he was an infantry Marine himself, one other instance of a protracted custom of household service in the department.

“He’d inform some random tales of boot camp or when he was on the fleet on the dinner desk after I was a child,” Hastings stated.

“I used to be howling. I believed they had been the funniest tales, and I used to be like, ‘Oh my God, I need a story like that!'”

Then, when it got here time to choose a specialty, Hastings stated that she “fell head over heels in love” with artillery after seeing a shoot early in her officer coaching.

“When the spherical does go off, it simply shakes your entire physique, and you are like, ‘Yeah!!'” she defined, once more with amusing.

Hastings stated that she sees her impression as a groundbreaking girl as being combined in with the unit’s mission to be one of the vital seen elements of the Marine Corps.

“Everybody right here has a chance to be a task mannequin,” she stated. “You painting one thing that is larger than your self.”

Earlier than coming to Marine Barracks Washington in 2020, Hastings was stationed in Hawaii with 1st Battalion, twelfth Marines, for about three years. There, she first started to command Marines and ultimately turned a battery govt officer.

To her, management “is just not arduous.” “It is extra simply caring concerning the Marines and their well-being and ensuring that the mission has been completed,” she defined. Although, she did admit that she’s known as her dad — now a firefighter in Seattle — for recommendation and to listen to out the occasional criticism.

“It is an excellent honor; it is superior to be a task mannequin for each women and men,” Hastings stated. “However I really feel actually privileged to have the ability to lead with these Marines and get to work with them.”

Hastings will command the Silent Drill Platoon for the 2023 parade season. She beforehand served as a marching platoon commander in 2021 and a marching firm govt officer in 2022.

— Konstantin Toropin will be reached at Comply with him on Twitter @ktoropin.

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