The 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 Tomb 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.
Twilight 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
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 240th 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 holiday 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.