1st Female USADT Commander

1st Lt. Lauran Glover, the first woman drill commander of the U.S. Army Drill Team [USADT], 4th Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), and her Soldiers perform, Nov. 23, at a football game at Candlestick Stadium in San Francisco, Ca. (Courtesy photo)

1st Lt. Lauran Glover, the first woman drill commander of the U.S. Army Drill Team [USADT], 4th Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), and her Soldiers perform, Nov. 23, at a football game at Candlestick Stadium in San Francisco, Ca. (Courtesy photo)


Being a female officer in a mostly male military is not the easiest job; however, there are women who continue to tear down the walls and barriers that have prevented them from certain positions.
1st Lt. Lauran Glover, a military police officer, has paved the way for women in the U.S. Army when she was recently selected as the first woman drill commander of the U.S. Army Drill Team [USADT], 4th Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).
For more than 50 years, the USADT has showcased the U.S. Army both nationally and internationally through breathtaking routines with bayonet-tipped 1903 Springfield rifles.
As the commander, Glover will lead that team of Soldiers in drill and ceremony during performances for military, government, non-profit, and civilian organizations.
“I am honored and proud for this opportunity to represent the Army, women and my country,” said Glover.
A graduate of the officer candidate school, Glover was first assigned as a military police officer at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Following that assignment, she became a platoon leader for the 289th Military Police [MP] Company (The Old Guard) on Joint Base Myer – Henderson Hall, Va.
“When I joined the Army, I had know idea the Army even had a drill team,” said Glover. “After I saw one of their performances, I knew I wanted to be part of that team and their legacy.”
She added only at The Old Guard can a Soldier conduct tactical training one day and then perform a world-class ceremony for the American public on the next day.
Performing in ceremonies is nothing new to Glover; after all, she was as a key member in the Military District of Washington’s 2014 Twilight Tattoo [TLT] and Spirit of America [SOA] performances.
TLT and SOA are live-action military pageants featuring Soldiers from The Old Guard and the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own.” They give a glimpse into American history through performances by The U.S. Army Blues, vocalists from The U.S. Army Band Downrange and U.S. Army Band Voices, The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, and The U.S. Army Drill Team.
“I enjoyed my time as a narrator during those shows,” said Glover. “It took countless hours of preparation and execution to prepare for the crowds averaging in the thousands from all across the country.”
Glover’s performances earned her numerous positive comments from not only the attendees but also from the senior leadership at The Old Guard.
“I have great leaders at here, and their experience and guidance has helped mold me to be the commander of the drill team,” said Glover. “It shows that if you work hard it doesn’t matter your race or gender.”
Glover said she is happy that more women in the military are stepping up to take on rolls traditionally filled by men.
“I hope I do inspire other women and Soldiers just as I was inspired by my mother, who also serve in the military,” said Glover. “If you want to be or do something, it is all up to that individual.”

1st Lt. Lauran Glover, the first woman drill commander of the U.S. Army Drill Team [USADT], 4th Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), leads her Soldiers during a half-time performance, Nov. 23, at a football game at Candlestick Stadium in San Francisco, Ca. (Courtesy photo)

1st Lt. Lauran Glover, the first woman drill commander of the U.S. Army Drill Team [USADT], 4th Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), leads her Soldiers during a half-time performance, Nov. 23, at a football game at Candlestick Stadium in San Francisco, Ca. (Courtesy photo)

The Old Guard Year in Review: 2015

11930936_1043593145664794_2637245021065239924_oThe 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) remains steadfast in its commitment to our nation and our fallen service members. It has been an exciting and busy year for the Regiment. The Old Guard participated in its annual events: the Twilight Tattoo series, Flags In, the Army’s 240th Army Birthday celebrations, and the Spirit of America military pageantry and one of the largest 10-mile races in the world, the Army Ten Miler race. In addition to these, the Pope made a historic visit to the Washington DC area. Foreign dignitaries from Japan, Nigeria, India, and Germany were welcomed at the 22525050815_c4aa762a94_oTomb of the Unknown Soldier and the White House. The Old Guard has also hosted ceremonies for major changes in the Military District of Washington. The Chief of Staff of the Army, Raymond T. Odierno, retired. The 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey also retired in a ceremony on Fort Myer hosted by President Barack H. Obama.

Despite these important events in 2015, The Old Guard’s ongoing mission is always a priority, honoring our fallen brothers and sisters.

11875234_1028136740543768_964659100347338051_oTwilight Tattoo is a military pageantry that brings history alive. Members of The Old Guard illustrate how the U.S. Army has been wherever our nation has needed us. This season, thousands of people attended the free one hour spectacle and were wowed by The Old Guard’s brightest. The entire Regiment, including the Continental Color Guard, the Cassion Platoon, the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, the U.S. Army Drill Team, and Presidential Salute Battery come together to showcase to the public their Army.

Flags In has been a tradition for the past 60 years. Soldiers from The Old

Flags In 2015

Guard honor America’s fallen heroes by placing American flags at gravesites for service members buried at both Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery just prior to the Memorial Day weekend. In four hours Soldiers from The Old Guard meticulously place more than 400,000 flags at every tombstone and niche.

The Army was founded on June 14, 1775. The Old Guard celebrated the 11393423_993882890635820_47895150107700384_o240th Army Birthday in New York City’s Time Square with the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps and U.S. Army Drill Team providing ceremonial support.

The Spirit of America show was a tremendous success. Members of The Old Guard bring American History to life in a two-hour stage production that rivals any production in scale and grandiosity. Thousands of people attended the free show at the DC Armory and the Eagle Bank Arena. More than 300 Soldiers from The Old Guard educated young and old alike.

19951807364_c42ca87fea_h            The Army Ten Miler race is the third largest ten-mile race in the world. This year over 35,000 people participated. The U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps and U.S. Army Drill team performed exhibitions for the runners and their supporters.

The Old Guard welcomed world leader Pope Francis in his first U.S. visit. Starting with an arrival ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base and a Full Armed Forces review at the White House, The Old Guard represented our nation’s Army with precision.

 

Prime Minister of Japan Armed Forces Full Honor Arrival Ceremony April 29, 2015

Another aspect of our mission is to be the face of the Army to foreign leaders. The Old Guard greeted Japanese and Nigerian dignitaries at the White House and met the expectations of the world. The ambassador of Germany and the Defense Minister of India were welcomed as The Old Guard provided the precision and dedication people expect from the U.S. Army.

Raymond T. Odierno retired after 39 years of distinguished service.

General Raymond T. Odierno Retirement Ceremony August 14, 2015.

Odierno’s great contributions to the Armed Forces and MDW were remembered in a grand ceremony on Whipple Field.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, retired after 41 years of distinguished service. President Obama was on hand to congratulate Dempsey on his military career and the new chapter he is beginning. The President also welcomed Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. as the 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

20526665731_b994d793f9_k           One of The Old Guard’s most import missions is its ongoing one: Conducting Memorial Affairs honoring our Nation’s fallen. This will always be one of our highest priorities. A family’s only experience with the U.S. Army may be when The Old Guard memorializes a loved one. The Old Guard strives to meet the highest standards so that limited experience reflects the respect we have for our brothers and sisters.

The Old Guard is looking forward to closing 2015 with a safe 10448439_965599590130817_682221117924318885_oholiday season. 2016 will be another chance for The Old Guard to prove itself as the Army’s Official Escort to the President of the United States and our Nation’s premier memorial affairs and ceremonial unit.

 

Pilots from Ft. Bragg Make Trip to Honor Fallen CW4

BRO_8197-2                  Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jason McCormack, assigned to 4-2 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, was killed on a routine training mission in South Korea when his AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed 50 miles east of Camp Humphreys on November 23, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. local time.

McCormack is being honored in an Army Full Honors funeral and buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Originally from Maryland, McCormack was 43 and is survived by his wife and parents.

A flyover was scheduled to honor McCormack with four Apache BRO_8181Helicopters conducting a “Missing Man” formation. Four helicopters would have crossed overhead during the last note of Taps, with one of the helicopters departing up and out of the formation. The symbolism of this formation is in recognition and honor of a missing or lost comrade. It is specific but not limited to aviation.

A group of Army Aviators flew up from Fort Bragg, NC the weekend before Christmas to help honor McCormack.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 John C Moughon, assigned to the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 1-82 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, Bravo Company, knew McCormack at a previous assignment.

“We knew each other at Fort Rucker, served together, did some training together, “ said Moughon. “He was a great guy.”

WORDPRESS                  This would have been Moughon’s first funeral flyover.

Capt,. Preston B. Collich knew the other pilot, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brandon Smith that was killed in the crash with McCormack.

Collich said although he didn’t know McCormack personally, when he heard about the crash he felt the loss.

Being chosen to be apart of the missing man formation for a friend he’s worked with was a tremendous honor, said Moughon.

Collich echoed the same sentiment, saying everyone has the McCormack family in their mind.

“Every single pilot in my unit, every single one of us at 1-82 ARB heli_103wanted to take part in this mission,” said Collich. The hope is the McCormack family is comforted by their presence, said Collich.

“So much of our professional lives are dedicated to the machine,” said Moughon. “To have that involved as a way to send him off that way is an honor.”

Logistically it is a challenge to have the Apache Helicopters flown up to the Military District of Washington for the memorial.

“Its rare to have a gunship in the DC area anyway,” said Moughon. “To fly it from Fort Bragg, with the Christmas Holidays, with most of the people gone, that was slightly difficult.”

“It is a little bit different for us,” said Collich. “As far as I know, none of us have ever flown in the National Capital Region before.”

Despite these challenges and the impending Holiday, that didn’t stop the pilots from rehearsing the missing man formation.

“Its really important.” Said Collich. “This takes precedence over our weekend, its priority over us even possibly being back for Christmas, I’d rather be out here doing anything that we can for the family.”

The weather conditions at the time of the funeral forced the flyover to be canceled.

The pilots made tremendous efforts flying the Apaches up the eastern seaboard and personally sacrificed personal time over the holidays to have the aircraft present.

The cancelation does nothing to diminish the intentions.

“All in all its worth it to send a brother off this way,” said Moughon.

Ft. Myer’s Officer’s Club Home to a Classy Spot

There is a hidden gem on Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall Christmas stories-2where Soldiers can go to lunch and sit in an opulent setting.

And it isn’t the new Starbucks or Subway at the Post Exchange.

Located in the basement of the Ft. Myer Officer’s Club, The Old Guard Lounge is a bar that all pay grades can go for a meal and have a drink surrounded by ornate wooden moldings and furniture.

The lounge is set apart from a lunch counter where Soldiers can order grilled items and specials at lunch. The front room has a lavish wooden bar next to a dance floor. Adjacent to the dance floor is a back room with a large screen television, hundreds of books on a lightly colored bookcases and a mantel decorated for the holiday season complete with a fireplace.

In the back room a large round table top that encases rounds Christmas stories-3from a machine gun is designated “The Round Table” in a nearby plaque. The plaque says the Round Table has been the place for “meetings and a few libations”.

On Fridays, members of the Officer’s Club can attend a happy hour that features a raffle and free food. The sound of live piano music fills the air every Friday evening as members make their way to a buffet of finger foods and fruit trays.

Christmas stories-4Bill L. McCulloch, a retired Marine from Rhode Island, has been a member of the Ft. Myer Officer’s Club since 1975.

McCulloch spent 31 years in the military. He was in the Infantry and performed a secondary MOS of Public Affairs duties.

The happy hour includes dancing and drinks, and is only open to dues paying members, said MuCulloch.

Being a member of the Officer’s Club gives members access to a variety of social events.

Christmas stories-5“Its great to come (to the happy hour),” said MuColloch. “Saturday Night they have a nice dance. Veterans Day they had a big party. They have a lot of activities, happy hour is one.”

So for a quick bite, drink or social gathering, be sure to check out The Old Guard Lounge in the Ft. Myer Officer’s Club. The entrance is located on the right side of The Old Guard Club on the pool side, down the stairs.

Army Community Service Helps Soldiers Have Happy Holiday Season

Christmas stories-6The holiday season is about giving.

That can sometimes be tough on a budget. With extra expenditures for gifts, Service members may be tempted to cut corners or take on debt.

One organization on Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall helps take up this burden: Army Community Service (ACS).

“Army Community Service is the Army family support organization,” said Marcia A. O’Connor, the Family Member Program Manager. “This is our way to connect to the community.”

Through a Soldier’s chain of command, Soldiers can sign up for a toy give away. Soldiers can talk to their chain of command through December 17 to get gifts for their children, said O’Connor.

All toys are donated through a variety of programs. Toys are Christmas stories-7available for children up to the age of 13, with older children being issued gift cards said O’Connor.

The program has been around for over 15 years, said O’Connor.

First-time Volunteers like Megan K. Murray will help Soldiers pick out toys for their children. All a Soldier needs to do is let them know the age.

“We get to do like holiday shopping, picking things out, which we love,” said Murray.

“All the Soldiers are so appreciative,” said Murray, whose husband is an Army Officer. She said she enjoys seeing Soldiers and their family members coming through and picking out things for their children.

“Its such a happy time,” said Marilyn C. Brooks, a 10-year volunteer. Christmas stories-8Brooks is a civilian without any ties to the military. “It gives me such pleasure to be here.”

ACS not only unites Soldiers and their communities, but the volunteers themselves.

“All of the volunteers are so welcoming,” said Murray.

“It’s a family,” said Brooks.Christmas stories-10

“Our volunteers say this is one of the most heartwarming events of the year,” said O’Connor. “Just to be able to make military children smile.”

O’Connor said to date, an estimated 130 Soldiers are signed up to receive toys. Soldiers with families are encouraged to talk to their chain of command before Friday, December 17 because there are always extra toys left over.

 

K9 Teams Train at FedEx Field

23288617619_4588350429_oThe 289th Military Police Company in the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) is home to one of the most sophisticated bomb detection units ever designed: a handler and his dog working in unison. K9 units are capable of detecting a wide variety of explosives.

Dogs and their handlers must form a cohesive team to reach their full potential. That is why on December 9, 2015, The Old Guard’s best weapon against planted explosives trained at FedEx Field in Landover, MD.

“We use real explosives,” said Spc. Beau Andrea, a handler that trained at FedEx Field. “We have German Shepherds, Belgian Melanomas, and Black Labs used at our kennels.”

FedEx Field provides a real world test full of environmental distractors. Teams tracked down small amounts of real explosives planted by The Old Guard training staff in an MVP Tent and the visiting team locker room.

Dogs signal their trainer at the presence of explosives with sometimes-subtle cues of excitement to more obvious clues like sitting down when they have found the source.

No two dogs operate in the same way, said Andrea. Dog’s 23288614379_edc5f998ab_opersonalities vary by breed and each individual K-9 may have their own quirks.

“Realistically, it all depends on the dog’s personality,” said Andrea. That is what makes the training in a real-world scenario like FedEx Field so valuable for the trainer and the dog to problem-solve and successfully carry out their mission.

When asked about his experience, Spc. Jesse G. Victory, a handler on hand for the training exercise said it’s a fluid situation. A trainer’s approach varies widely. Victory said the last dog he trained with was a 9-year-old that had a methodical approach to a search.

Now Victory has a new dog, a two-year-old that’s practically a puppy.
Victory said his new dog is about what one would expect from a puppy, full of enthusiasm and excitement. Victory said, “Every dog is different. You get a new issue every day that might show up.”

The nuance involved forces trainers to be highly tuned with their four-legged partners.

As of October 2014, the Army created the MOS 31K, which trains new Soldiers to be MP’s and then through a dog handling course. It takes about 30-weeks of training to become a dog handler, said Andrea. MP training is 19 weeks and dog training is another 11.

But that’s only half of the story when it come to training; dogs are FEDEXFB-4required to be certified.

“The dogs are initially trained at Lackland Air Force base on the basics,” said Andrea. “Between basic obedience, patrol work, and detection they have to certify at Lackland before they are deemed good to go.”

Once the dogs are certified as meeting the Army standard, the dogs arrive at their first duty station.

“They’ll come to the kennels and its up to the handlers and the
23288617589_6338e37021_otrainers to advance that dog,” said Andrea. “It takes a lot of work and training to actually get a dog that’s brand new, a green dog, to maintain standards.”

A departure from the normal training environment of barracks and warehouses like FedEx Field gives an indication of the teams’ progress.

“The hope and the intent is for Soldiers to be able to leave this training with the ability to accurately tell me what the change of behavior is on their dog,” said Sgt Charles A. Ogin IV, an NCO facilitating the training. “Accurately tell me if and when their dog is on odor, and to save lives ultimately.”

 

Wreaths Across America Honors the Fallen This Saturday

16012480855_782af82e78_m       Wreaths Across America (WAA) is scheduled to place 230,000 remembrance wreaths on headstones at Arlington National Cemetery, December 12, 2015.

In its 24th year, WAA is enlisting the help of 50,000 volunteers. The opening ceremony is scheduled to begin at the McClellan Gate on McClellan Drive at 9 a.m. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes and be prepared for large crowds and long lines.

“Our mission is simple. Remember, Honor, and Teach about the service and sacrifice,” said Tobin Slaven, Director of Communications for WAA. “We think the least we can do, is take time during the busy holiday season to stop, pay our respects and appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy each and every day.”

Notable events of the day include a wreath laying at President Kennedy’s grave slated to begin at 11 a.m. and a wreath laying at 11:30 a.m. by Maine Gov. Paul LePage.

A nonprofit organization, WAA was founded by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992.15826731727_857e04133c_m

“All the wreaths come from the State of Maine, and specifically from Worcester Wreath Company – the small company that started the tradition back in 1992,” said Slaven. “The non-profit was formed to expand the mission so more people could get involved, and bring the Arlington experience to their home communities.”

Slaven looks at the chance to work for WAA as an honor.

“Personally – I am fortunate because I am one of a small number of people who actually work for the organization, so I get to work on a project that is driven by the passion of hundreds of thousands of volunteers nationwide,” said Slaven. “Our Chairman and Executive Director both take no salary, yet work tirelessly year round to find different ways to honor more of our veterans.”

“2016 will be the 25th anniversary of wreaths being donated and placed at Arlington National Cemetery,” said Slaven. “While Arlington may be the best known and most visible of our national cemeteries, many folks do not realize that we have over 1100 participating in locations nationwide.”

Over 900,000 wreaths will be placed worldwide, said Slaven.

The mission of “Remember, Honor, Teach” is carried out in part by coordinating wreath laying ceremonies each December in Arlington National Cemetery.

16010528371_96a33def4a_m            Slaven has some personal ties with the military, as his father served in the Marines and has an Uncle buried in section 68 in Arlington National Cemetery.

“But most of all – I think of our connections we have made with the Gold Star families. I see them as the North Star of our organization,” said Slaven. “Every time we make a decision or plan our events, we think about how they might feel about our efforts, and will these small acts of remembrance help heal their pain and sense of loss for the one who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

For more information, visit WreathsAcrossAmerica.org.

Oldest Living WWII Vet in DC for Pearl Harbor Day

OldestWWIIReferred to “The day that will live in infamy”, on December 7, 1941 the Japanese attacked the United States and drew the nation into one of the most destructive events in history. On the 74th Anniversary of this day, the oldest known living veteran of this conflict was given the honor to lay a wreath at the WWII Memorial.

Frank Levingston, now 110-years-old, is on a DC tour organized by Austin Honor Flights. In addition to laying a wreath at the WWII memorial, he visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (TUS), and is invited to visit the White House on December 8, 2015.

Livingston flew from his home in Lake Charles, La. This is the first time Austin Honor Flights has provided a trip to an out-of-state resident.

Upon landing in Regan Airport, Levingston was greeted with a standing ovation.

OldestWWII-9During his visit to the TUS , Levingston grew emotional.

“I can’t really express how I feel.” said Levingston. “But I’m very touched to see this.”

One of eight children, Levingston was born November 13, 1905 in North Carolina and served in the Army as a Private. He fought in the Naples-Foggia Campaign in Italy.

After receiving an honorable discharge in 1945, he became a union worker specializing in cement finishing.

Shannon Levingston-Mccowan of Shreveport, LA is Levingston’s great niece and accompanying him on this visit.

Levingston-Mccowan said his 110th birthday less then a month ago meant a lot to her family, regardless of the fact it is now national news.

The centenarian Levingston is in good health and takes no medication said Levingston-Mccowan.

Joeseph Levingston, his nephew, said it was an honor to see a member of OldestWWII-13his family honored in this way.

Austin Honor Flights is a non-profit organization that helps veterans visit the DC area to see the monuments that have been built in their honor.

According to the Austin Honor flights website, there are approximately only 855,070 veterans remaining of the 16 million who served our nation in WWII.

The cost to the veteran to visit memorials through Honor Flights is absolutely free.