WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 28, 2009) -- The cadence of drums and sounds of bagpipes filled the air as the British ArmyAca,!a,,cs 20-member Scots Guards Pipes and Drums Corps entered the Pentagon courtyard Sept. 25, to put on a lunchtime show as an expression of admiration by the United Kingdom to America, its closest ally.

Aca,!A"These soldiers have been in the U.S. for the last month, performing the length and breadth of the United States,Aca,!A? announced host Lt. Col. William Swinton of the British Army to the large turnout of workers and families. Aca,!A"They are here in Washington to play to you, our strongest allies and to show profound appreciation for the alliance we have with our American brothers and sisters in arms.Aca,!A?

Made up of eight bagpipers, seven drummers and four sword dancers led by a drum major, the all-male unit has the distinction of being the oldest infantry battalion in the British Army. Swinton also told the crowd that the performers were all front-line soldiers and not professional musicians. They returned to Britain Sunday to begin training for deployment to Helmand Province, Afghanistan in March where they will work alongside U.S. Marines.

Highlights to the performance included the playing of Aca,!A"God Bless AmericaAca,!A? and the Scottish anthem, Aca,!A"Scotland the BraveAca,!A? and a spirited traditional highland sword dance.

Leader of the corps, drum major Sgt. Martin Godsman, said playing the Pentagon was an honor and pleasure, but added the tour has been hectic, playing five cities in Colorado, New Hampshire, New York, and the highland games festival in San Francisco, Calif.

Aca,!A"Reception by the American people has been fantastic, especially the highland gamesAca,!A| people see all the pipes and drums and then weAca,!a,,cre just mobbed,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"They come up to us, shake our hands and thank usAca,!A| thatAca,!a,,cs all we need.Aca,!A?

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