The US Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard was created by the order of President John F. Kennedy in 1962. Its Silent Drill Team is chosen from members of this group, becoming the elite of the elite.

The Drill Team practises five days a week for a minimum of two hours each day. They learn the special discipline of ceremonial drill and deportment and participate in a wide variety of parades, competitions, celebrations, and memorials. Each year the Drill Team stages an exercise at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington, DC. As the team manoeuvres the heavy rifles, bayonets fixed, their drill is a marvel of fast-moving precision.

This photographic series captures the drill as rifles are rapidly crossed behind and in front of the drill master as he walks the “suicide line” or tossed through the air from one seaman to another.