By Staff Sgt. Kelvin Ringold The Old Guard Public Affairs Office
Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) joined service members from around the Department of Defense and various civil services in support of the 58th Presidential Inauguration Jan. 20.
After months of preparation, The Old Guard continued its long standing tradition of ceremonial support using elements from The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” The Fife and Drum Corps, Caisson, Continental Color Guard, Presidential Salute Battery and the Commander-in-Chief’s Guard, to commemorate the 45th President of the United States.
In a regiment of approximately 1,700 Soldiers, most of whom had a role in the inauguration, both first time participants and seasoned veterans walked away with lasting impressions and experiences from the event.
The Old Guard commander, Col. Jason T. Garkey, previously participated during the 1997 and 2005 Presidential Inaugurations, but this third one brought a different aspect to it.
“This was the first inauguration I participated in that involved a change of the administration,” explained Garkey. “The magnitude of the operation was immense. In previous inaugurations, I participated in specific parts, but as the regimental commander responsible for JTF [Joint Task Force] Ceremony, I had visibility on every detail involving the regiment.”
Looking back on the task and effort that went into it to make it a success is something Garkey said he appreciated.
“The complexity and amount of detail developed into the plan was extremely impressive,” said Garkey. “The seamless integration of our ceremonial and contingency tasks capitalized on every aspect of the regiment. It validated everything we have worked towards since this past summer.”
Chicago native Spc. Tabari Sibby, Company Honor Guard, 4th Battalion, 3d Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), was part of the cordon for the departure of former President Barack Obama at Joint Base Andrews, Md., and it is a moment he will not soon forget after seeing his final wave.
“The experience was very honorable for me and my colleagues,” said Sibby. “I feel very honored that I was a part of the 58th [Presidential] Inauguration.”
At 22 years old and with less than a year in the military, Pfc. Austin Wolf, Company E, 4th Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), said he was in awe of all the events that transpired, but he will always remember what he did as part of the White House cordon.
“Inaugurations are historical events and important for our nation to ensure the president publicly swears his oath to the Constitution,” said Garkey.
“Our Soldiers’ contributions to the inauguration permeate through multiple aspects of the event and extend far beyond the parade. Regardless of their roles, ceremonial, support or contingency, this inauguration was successful because of their contributions.
“Everyone played a part, and the synchronization of those parts culminating on January 20 made history.”