The Old Guard Association (TOGA) held its 18th annual reunion from September 30-October 4 at the Pentagon City Sheraton in Arlington, Va.TOGA-59

TOGA consists of both current and former members of 3d Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). TOGA strives to maintain the traditions and camaraderie built between the service members who have served in The Old Guard.

Reunion activities included a TOGA President’s Reception, a wreath ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and an Army Full Honor Review at Conmy Hall.

Started in 1997, a conversation at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier between former Old Guard soldiers and the then regimental commander, Col. Gregory C. Gardner, laid the foundation for what has become TOGA.

“Him (Gardner) and Command Sergeant Major Bob (Robert L.) Phifer,” said Pete J. McDermott, who joined TOGA in 1999. “They were the two guys behind it.”

“And then on the alumni side, you have Command Sergeant Major retired Tom Twomey, and Command Sergeant Major retired George Otis,” said McDermott. “Otis and Twomey became like, member one and member two.”

George E. Otis says he and Twomey wanted to start TOGA for some time before they brought it up to the then Regimental Commander.

Twomey said the commander had been considering an association for former Tomb Guards. Twomey suggested an association that encompassed all former members of The Old Guard.

The commander agreed, so Twomey and Otis “threw down 100 dollars a piece” and TOGA was born.

From that humble beginning, TOGA has grown over the years to now have 895 active members.

The mission of TOGA includes maintaining records and publishing the history and achievements of The Old Guard, being of assistance and service in matters pertaining to Veterans of The Old GuardTOGA-53.

Otis said The Old Guard has a great standard, and that was built upon what generations of soldiers did before them.

To Otis, TOGA helps unite the members of The Old Guard.

“To get us all back together,” said Otis. “We all represent the greatest organization in the United States Army.”

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