Category Archives: Soldier’s Blog

Old Guard Soldiers prepare for 58th Presidential Inauguration

Story by Staff Sgt. Terrance D. Rhodes

This is part 1 of 4 of a news story series

FORT MYER, Va – Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) are ramping up to support President elect Donald Trump’s first Presidential Inauguration.

Traditionally, military units from each of the five branches have marched in the Presidential escort and in the Inaugural Parade. More than 2,000 soldiers from The Old Guard will support this Inauguration.

“Supporting the peaceful transition of government after a presidential election is a historic event and one that many countries do not have,” said Col. Jason Garkey, the regimental commander of the 3d.U.S. Inf. Regt. (TOG). “I have participated in two previous inaugurations (Clinton – 1997 and Bush – 2005) and they both highlighted the unique characteristics of our government and how it brings the nation together.”

Though there will be numerous representatives in this 58th Presidential Inauguration, The Old Guard will play a vital role in this event. Garkey will represents the commander of troops. The Presidential Salute Battery [PSB], Fife and Drum Corps, an honor company, along with the Army Street Cordon will be in full participation.

Military involvement in the Presidential Inauguration is a centuries-old tradition. The U.S. military has participated in this important American tradition since April 30, 1789, when members of the U.S. Army, local militia units and Revolutionary War veterans escorted President George Washington to his first inauguration ceremony at Federal Hall in New York City.

Service members involved in the 2017 Presidential Inauguration represent an integrated Total Force. Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, and Coast Guard members proudly serving their country at home and abroad. This support comprises musical units, marching bands, color guards, salute batteries and honor cordons, which render appropriate ceremonial honors to the commander in chief.

Just as military men and women show their commitment to this country during deployments and stationed abroad, participation in this traditional event demonstrates the military’s support to the nation’s new commander in chief.

The inauguration will kick off at noon on Jan. 20. The parade will follow immediately after the ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Public entrances to the parade generally open at 6:30 a.m.

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TOG Blog – WO1 Brent Vestering – WOCS Honor Grad

WO1 Brent Vestering

WO1 Brent Vestering

I recently served for 15 months as the Regimental Legal NCOIC for The Old Guard.  During my tenure, I provided guidance and training to commanders, NCOs, and Soldiers concerning Military Justice and adverse administrative matters.  My team and I provided quality legal products and guidance that enabled leaders to resolve legal issues expeditiously while remaining focused on their respective missions.

I graduated from U.S. Army Warrant Officer Candidate School on 20 February 2014.  In recognition for my academic performance, I was recognized as an Honor Graduate.  This school is a rigorous five week course designed to train, assess, evaluate, and develop future Warrant Officers.  The course instructors trained, mentored, and advised myself and 60 other candidates as we served in various student leadership positions throughout the course.  My class represented 10 of the Army’s functional branches and all three components; Active Army, National Guard, and Army Reserve.

The course consisted of two Army Physical Fitness Test, a week long Field Leadership Exercise, Land Navigation, a Leadership Reaction Course, and a 6.2 mile Ruck March.  In addition, we received classroom instruction focusing on officership, Army values, ethics, military history, and other topics all of which were covered in five academic exams and a military brief.

The course established a foundation for my own development as a self-aware and adaptive leader.  It taught me to be resilient in times of difficulty and how to persevere in stressful situations.  Above all, this course reaffirmed what I knew 10 years ago when I entered the military; that I am but a humble servant to the people of the United States and to the Soldiers with whom I serve; and that I will serve in such a manner as to not bring discredit upon my country, my unit, or my family.

Old Guard Trains at NTC

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Soldiers of Delta Company,1st Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), raise an antenna at the National Training Center [NTC] on Fort Irwin, Calif. The antenna is used for multiple communications across the battlefield. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Klinton Smith)

 Story by Staff Sgt. Luisito Brooks:

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. (Feb. 7, 2014) — Soldiers assigned to Delta Company, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) returned from a month long deployment at the National Training Center [NTC] on Fort Irwin, Calif., Feb. 5-6, as part of a joint mission with 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT), 2nd Infantry Division from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

The unit’s aren’t deploying anytime in the near future; however, they are using this exercise to perfect operational procedures and communication between aviation and Soldiers on the ground.

“We’ve learned the absolute importance of establishing standard operating procedures, conducting rehearsals and conducting pre-combat checks and inspections,” said Capt. Travis N. Reinold, commander, D Co. “We trained on what we’ve done over the last 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan by conducting ‘force on force’ engagements against a conventional enemy.”

The unit spent the first few days at NTC getting equipped with the multiple integrated laser engagement system [MILES].

MILES is a training system that provides a realistic battlefield environment for Soldiers and vehicles involved in the training exercise.

D Co. then conducted daily operations with the Stryker Brigade, while also overcoming a few new challenges along the way.

“We learned a lot from our infantry counterparts,” said Reinold. “This NTC rotation was unique for the Army because it marked the first time ever a Stryker Brigade executed a ‘Decisive Action’ rotation.”

These rotations were developed by U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command to create a common training scenario for use throughout the Army. They are expected to expose troops to today’s threats, coupled with a realistic, challenging environment that mimics 21st century adversaries.

“These challenges seemed daunting, but the competence, professionalism and motivation of all the Soldiers and non-commissioned officers made it possible to succeed,” said Reinold. “I couldn’t be more proud or happy about how far this company has progressed since November.”

Staff Sgt. James Simmons agreed.

“The truth is that everyone has discovered something that they didn’t know before,” said Simmons, a D Co. squad leader. “I got to see my Soldiers do some really great things on a terrain that was an exact replica of Afghanistan, except the mountains are a whole lot higher in Afghanistan.”

“A big take away from this was that we reminded our Soldiers that our main job is to be a proficient infantry unit and work as a team,” he continued.

With the two units having worked together during the rotation, Reinold said he feels they are both well equipped for any mission.

“We learned how to be an effective team and to achieve the maximum desired effects for our training,” said Reinold. “These Soldiers are truly capable of accomplishing anything.”

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A Delta Company Soldier, 1st Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), stands guard during a training exercise at the National Training Center [NTC] on Fort Irwin, Calif. The training helped enhance the tactical skills of the Soldiers. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Klinton Smith)

Soldier’s Blog: Cpt. Kelley A. Keating

August 25, 2013

By CPT Kelley A. Keating

DSC_5062I currently serve as the Adjutant for 1st Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard.  For readers who are not familiar with the term, the Adjutant is the officer in charge of the S-1 section.  The S-1 section here in the 1/3 battalion contains 10 Soldiers trained in the art of human resources.  The S-1 is comparable to any corporation’s human resources department with the same basic mission; to enhance the readiness and capabilities of the force.  We accomplish this by managing our manpower and providing administrative support to subordinate units.

The roles and responsibilities of the S-1 are vast, and would be too much to outline in this blog. So, let’s just cover the big ticket items such as the processing of awards, leave forms, evaluation reports, and pay inquiries, among a variety of other essential personnel services.  It truly takes a team to accomplish the daily tasks and I am very fortunate to work with and learn from the officers, NCO’s and Soldiers of this prestigious unit.

As we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, I would like to give thanks and honor to the women of our past that fought for our right to vote in a democratic Nation.  This is our civic duty and should not be forgotten each time a ballot is cast.  Because of the dreams and perseverance of those who came before us, women are not only able to vote but able to serve in the military in a plethora of assignments and positions unimaginable years ago.  The more than 200,000 women of our Armed Forces are proof of this.   Thank you to those who have fought and continue to fight for our next generations’ way of life.

“The choices we make about the lives we live determine the kinds of legacies we leave.” ― Tavis Smiley, The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates

Soldier’s Blog: Pfc. Daniel Wright

TOG Blog

August 8, 2013

By PFC Daniel Wright

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Hi, my name is PFC Daniel Wright. I was born in Richmond, Va, September 4th, 1995, into a large family of eight. When I was thirteen years old, my oldest brother, Timothy, joined the United States Marine Corps and went on to see several deployments overseas. My next to oldest brother, John, followed in my brother’s footsteps and also joined the USMC. My brothers’ decisions to join the Armed Forces got me thinking about also pursuing a military career. After many hours of thought and discussing it with my parents, I enlisted in the Army branch of service shortly after my seventeenth birthday.

After the completion of basic training and A.I.T (Advanced Infantry Training) at Fort Benning, Ga., I was chosen to be stationed here in The Old Guard located close to our Nation’s capital. The standards here are the highest and there is no tolerance for imperfection because we have the responsibility to bring honor to our fallen comrades who have given their lives to protect this great country and our freedom. We, The Old Guard, also represent the United States Army to our Nation and the world.

We undergo endless hours of training to perfect our uniforms, rifle maneuvers and our marching skills in order to prepare ourselves for every mission. We also do this to bring ourselves to the level of perfection that is required here. We learn to work as one unit; everyone in sync, dress right dress. This is not a very easy job to say the least, but at the end of the day, we can take great pride in the work we have accomplished. I am honored to call myself an Old Guard Soldier.

 

Soldier’s Blog: Sgt. Robert Keifer

Keifer head shot-1

Sgt. Robert Keifer

Hello, I’m Sgt. Robert Keifer, and I’ve been asked to write about my work here in The Old Guard, and specifically about the Military District of Washington’s (MDW) Best Warrior Competition, which I competed in, and won, last week. I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve here in our nation’s capital, as I’ve been thankful to serve previously in the 10th Mountain Division both at Fort Drum, N.Y., and Fort Polk, La.

I currently have the privilege of being a squad leader in the Presidential Escort Platoon, Honor Guard Company, where we spend our time preparing for and marching in ceremonies such as wreath layings at the Tomb of the Unknowns, arrivals for foreign dignitaries at the Pentagon, funerals for our veterans, parades, and the Presidential Inauguration. The preparations that we do to achieve the standards required for The Old Guard (read: perfection) include ongoing hours of uniform preparation, physical fitness training (going for a run past the monuments or through Georgetown are a treat and never cease to inspire me), practicing marching and rifle manual, which is what we’re doing when you hear “Right shoulder – Arms!” and other commands.

Each year a Soldier and an NCO are sent from each company in the regiment to compete for the title of “Soldier/NCO of the Year” at the Regiment’s Best Warrior Competition. Spc. Michael Sands and I were this year’s winners (he as Soldier of the Year, I as NCO of the Year) at the 3-day competition that included events ranging from land navigation to an obstacle course and an interview board. This competition wasn’t easy, and my fellow NCOs were great competitors.

The next level of competition in our region was the Military District of Washington’s Best Warrior Competition. Spc. Sands and I are also the winners for the MDW competition (though again, my fellow NCOs were great competitors), and we will go on to compete in October at the All-Army Best Warrior Competition in Fort Lee, Va. I do not take the task of representing The Old Guard lightly, and will spend the next couple months training harder than ever to bring credit upon The Old Guard. I give thanks and credit to God as “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Keifer participates in a ruck march during The Old Guard's Regimental Best Warrior Competition. He won among NCOs in the Regiment, and again against all NCOs from MDW. He will represent The Old Guard and MDW at the Army-wide competition in October.

Keifer participates in a ruck march during The Old Guard’s Regimental Best Warrior Competition. He won among NCOs in the Regiment, and again against all NCOs from MDW. He will represent The Old Guard and MDW at the Army-wide competition in October.

Soldier’s Blog: Spc. Cameron Southhall – Multimedia Illustrator

Spc. Cameron Southhall

Spc. Cameron Southhall

My name is Spc. Cameron Southhall, and I am currently stationed at the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). I am a Multimedia Illustrator and I work in the Public Affairs shop. This is my first duty assignment and I really enjoy doing my job here. I am very happy that I was selected to join The Old Guard; it is truly an honor because not every Soldier gets to come to this historic ceremonial unit. Here I do a lot of graphic design, but I also contribute to the mission of honoring my fallen comrades.  My mission here is to tell the Soldiers’ stories through graphic design and illustration. I get to show the people what great things Soldiers do, with an illustrated twist. It’s almost like painting a picture. Graphic design is very important to me, because it can take you to a place that you have never been before. When I sit down to design, it’s like my mind takes me to another dimension. And here I get to show the WORLD! Being here gives me a sense of dignity and pride. It makes me push myself harder and harder every day.

Firing Party illustration by Spc. Cameron Southhall

Firing Party illustration by Spc. Cameron Southhall