Category Archives: News

Sacramento PD travels 3000 miles to train with The Old Guard

“It would be a tragedy if we lost an officer in the line of duty, but it is our job to be prepared to render that officer their due honors just in case the worst happened,” said Sgt. Michael Lange, a member of the Sacramento Police Department Honor Guard [SPDHG]. “In order to provide the families with the best service, we had to learn how from the very best.”
Soldiers assigned to the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), trained the SPDHG on memorial affairs, Apr. 8-12. The police officers, who traveled nearly 3,000 miles, learned the details of flag folding, casket carrying and the duties of a firing party during the five-days of instruction on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va.
“We are getting training that normally takes a few weeks in just a few days,” said Lange. “When we head back, the goal is to be able to guide the rest of the team on what we learned here.”
However, this wasn’t the first time the Sacramento police department’s honor guard sought the expertise of the Soldiers.
“Six years ago we came here for training, and I remember just how great it was,” said Lange. “The guys with The Old Guard were very good and knowledgeable at what they do.”

Detective James Anderson, a traffic officer with the Sacramento P.D., waits for the command to begin folding a flag during memorial affairs training on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Apr. 9. Members of the S.P.D traveled nearly 3,000 miles to receive hands-on training and the expertise of Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), the Army's premiere memorial and ceremonial unit.  (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Luisito Brooks)

Detective James Anderson, a traffic officer with the Sacramento P.D., waits for the command to begin folding a flag during memorial affairs training on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Apr. 9. Members of the S.P.D traveled nearly 3,000 miles to receive hands-on training and the expertise of Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), the Army’s premiere memorial and ceremonial unit. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Luisito Brooks)

Old Guard Soldiers practice for many hours during the week in order to perform hundreds of funerals and ceremonies in the National Capitol Region and throughout the nation.
Sgt. Brent Austin, casket team leader, Honor Guard Company, 3d U.S. Inf. Reg. (The Old Guard), said it means a lot that other agencies look to Honor Guard Company to prepare them for ceremonial and memorial events.
“It is humbling to see all these people seek us for this training, and it really pushes us to remain passionate and on our toes,” said Austin. “It’s great to meet people who are from other parts of the country. We all have the same mission: to honor the fallen and their families.”
Austin has had the opportunity to teach various law and public services departments over the two and a half years he has been with The Old Guard.
“It blows me away that people see and appreciate what we do so much,” said Austin.

Sgt. Brent Austin, a casket team leader with The Old Guard, teaches members of the Sacramento P.D. how to properly fold a flag Apr. 9. The Old Guard's primary mission is to conduct funerals and ceremonies for fallen Soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery, Va. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Luisito Brooks)

Sgt. Brent Austin, a casket team leader with The Old Guard, teaches members of the Sacramento P.D. how to properly fold a flag Apr. 9. The Old Guard’s primary mission is to conduct funerals and ceremonies for fallen Soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery, Va. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Luisito Brooks)

Austin explained the importance of working with other organizations to help facilitate and improve their memorial affairs teams.
“If we can provide local responders with the tools to complete a funeral honorably, then I have done my job,” said Austin. “It is really important that we recognize those who have given their all in the line of duty.”
Throughout the week of training, the Sacramento Police Department spent nearly every moment soaking up the information the Soldiers had to offer.
“The most challenging part of the week was learning how to time the firing of the rifles just right,” said Lange. “I know that these Soldiers didn’t get this good overnight, so I know we have hope. We just have to continue to practice this.”
Lange also said that during the lesson on flag folding, he realized all of the small details that go into getting the flag to look just right.
“The sequence has a lot of steps, but by the end of the day we basically had it down solid,” said Lange. “I know with more practice we would be even better.”
As the week of training came closer to the end, Lange said his team once again understood why these Soldiers are considered the best.
“The Old Guard really cares that we learn everything that we came here to learn,” said Lange. “The Old Guard sets the highest standard when it comes to funerals, so we just want to emulate them.”

Military working cat program underway at ‘The Old Guard’

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The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), is doing its part to cut down on military spending with the implementation of a new cutting-edge program which will use military working cats to work alongside military police. 

Currently, U.S. Army Military Police, or MPs, most often use German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois dogs for narcotics detection, tracking criminals and for taking down criminals, thus reducing the risk of injury to MPs. 

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Sgt. 1st Class Tyler Radmall, platoon sergeant, 947th Military Police [MP] Detachment, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). “There are so many homeless cats in the Virginia area. Not only will the Army have a more cost-effective working animal, but we will be doing our part in getting them off of the streets and finding them employment.” 

Officials hope to capitalize on cats’ olfactory and hearing prowess. While most people think of dogs as having sharp senses, cats actually have more acute senses.

For example, dogs can hear five times more acutely than humans, and cats about twice as acutely as dogs. Also, a domestic cat’s sense of smell is about fourteen times as strong as a human’s.

Soldiers around the regiment have been doing their part to support the program by capturing stray cats in their neighborhoods and bringing them into the detachment located on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va. More than 100 cats have been collected since the program started earlier this month. 

The cats will have to go through a screening process to determine their “trainability.” They will be assessed with regard to how quickly they learn tasks, what motivates them (play versus food), and their sociability. Cats that cannot be motivated to take direction, or that do not get along with humans or other animals, will be ejected from the program.

Cats that fail out of the program will be distributed to no-kill facilities and adoption centers throughout Northern Virginia.

While the program is new, and graduation rate data are not yet available, the MPs setting up the program have high hopes for the success.

“It’s better to use these cats because they are a lot quieter, sneakier and quicker than most of our dogs,” said Radmall. “They will also be able to get into some of the smaller crawl spaces to sniff out bombs if necessary.”

Radmall added this skill will especially help MPs who are deployed. However, he admitted the program has gotten off to a rocky start. Some of the strays collected for the program have “limited human interaction and social skills.” 

“It has been a rough process,” said Radmall. “A lot of our Soldiers were seen at the regimental aid station because they were scratched up pretty badly by the cats.” 

On the contrary, Radmall said this will be another great advantage of employing the military working cats. 

“Cats’ claws are razor sharp, so it makes for a good defense mechanism not only for the cat but for their handler as well,” said Radmall. “A young, healthy cat can jump over eight feet in a single bound so if an enemy approaches a cat, the cat will be able to jump on him and either disable him, or claw him to death if he fails to stop resisting capture.” 

Other issues have arose, of course, with integrating the two species. As the program is still in its infancy, funding is not yet available for separate kennels for the cats.

“It’s like sibling rivalry,” said Radmall. “We’ve had to break up quite a few fights between the felines and the K9s. You can definitely tell the dogs aren’t pleased with the possibility of the cats moving in on their territory.”

Radmall continued to say they will keep the dogs currently in the program, but will only accept cats from this point forward.

Radmall is confident that the kinks in the program will be worked out over time despite the issues they have had so far. 

“We’ve already had one cat successfully graduate through the program, and we’re looking forward to having many more to follow in his footsteps,” said Radmall. “While the other cats in the program might not understand the gravity of his achievement, Gino serves as a role model for them. He exemplifies the Army Values.” 

No cats were harmed in the writing of this story. Happy April Fools!

Soldiers support deployed servicemembers; host monthly blood drives

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The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) hosted their first of nine Armed Services Blood Program Blood Drives [ASBP], Mar. 11, at the community center on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va. 
The blood collected from the drives will support service members who are wounded overseas. 
“I think it’s truly honorable because this precious commodity really saves lives in 
Afghanistan and other parts of the world,” said Price, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment transportation noncommissioned officer. “Blood donated to the ASBP is a game changer because it is specifically for those guys and girls who are still fighting and are getting hurt.”
Price was one of the first Soldiers to arrive to the community center for the event. He said his eagerness to give blood stemmed from his experiences of seeing the need for blood donations during his tour in Afghanistan. 
“When I was deployed, I heard an announcement that there were a lot of people that got badly hurt. We were asked to give blood if we had O-positive blood,” said Price, 529th Regimental Support Company [RSC]. “I showed up with a few Soldiers, and the line was very long. I will never forget that night, so now I try to give as often as possible.”
Spc. Edgar Rodriguez, who helped organize the drive, said he appreciated Price’s support and enthusiasm. 
“Price is always talking about the benefits of giving blood to other Soldiers,” said Rodriguez, transportation specialist, 529th RSC. “It is good to have someone who really believes in giving blood as much as he does.”
Rodriguez explained how time is of the essence when it comes to this program. 
“There is always a need, and once they collect the blood it is used within a week,” he said. “The blood isn’t frozen, just sitting in a blood bank; it is taken to a lab where it is prepared to be shipped overseas.”
Price said giving blood to an organization that sends it down range is certainly a reminder that there are still Soldiers in harm’s way. 
“I tell my Soldiers all the time that this is an opportunity to be a part of something that’s bigger than you,” said Price. “Those are our brothers and sisters out there. I really feel as though it is part of our duty to show up to give blood to help them out.” 
The last blood drive will take place Nov. 26. For more information about donating,
contact Rodriguez via email at edgar.r.rodriguezsolano2mil@mail.mil or Staff Sgt. Joshua D Montgomery, ASBP Manager, at joshua.montgomery2@us.army.mil.

Miranda McGuire pins her husband, Sgt. Erik McGuire, Tomb Sentinel, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), with The Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Identification Badge, Aug. 30, at the Memorial Display Room in Arlington National Cemetery, Va. McGuire is the first military police in 11 years to earn the Tomb Badge; the second least awarded badge in the military after the Astronaut Badge. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Megan Garcia)

Few Soldiers have the honor of wearing The Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Identification Badge, the second least awarded badge in the U.S. Army, after the Astronaut Badge. Even smaller is the number of military police who have earned the prestigious badge. On Aug. 30, Sgt. Erik McGuire became the first MP in 11 years to earn this right.
“It’s just a great honor to represent [the MP Corps, myself] and the whole Army,” said McGuire, Tomb Sentinel, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).
The Tomb, which holds unidentified remains of Soldiers from World War I, World War II and the Korean War, is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in all weather conditions at Arlington National Cemetery, Va.
In order to earn the right to be called a Tomb Sentinel, candidates must pass a series of five tests which can take up to nine months. These tests consist of outside performances, uniform inspection, and the history of the Army, Arlington National Cemetery and The Tomb.
“It’s very stressful and tiring,” said McGuire. “It’s probably the roughest training I’ve ever been through but I just kept on going with the support of my family.”
McGuire’s family drove from Birmingham, Ala., to share in his moment. His wife was honored with pinning the badge on him.
“I’m extremely proud of him,” said his wife, Miranda. “He has worked very hard for this. I’ve seen him stay up long nights and dedicate almost everything. All of his accomplishments are wonderful, but this is probably the best one.”
It can be revoked even after a servicemember leaves the Army if he or she brings discredit to the Tomb. McGuire said the additional principles he learned at the Tomb will assist him in upholding these high standards.
“I’m glad to have this duty of guarding the Unknowns,” said McGuire. “The Army helped me be a better person and a better man, but coming to the Tomb instilled those values a little more.”
McGuire is the 603rd Soldier to receive the badge since it was first issued in 1958