Old Guard Soldiers met Washington Redskins players

Story by Sgt. Nicholas T. Holmes

JOINT BASE MYER – HENDERSON HALL, Va. – Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) participated in the Washington Redskins Salute to Service Day, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park on May 24, 2017 in Ashburn, Virginia.

Redskins Salute is the official military appreciation club of the football team.

Salute to Service Day recognized approximately 150 active duty service members and veterans at the exclusive event presented by United Services Automobile Association, USAA.

“Events like this are extremely important,” said Ronney Wright, a military affairs representative from USAA. “We are here today to honor show our appreciation to these military men and women.”

The event started with a Chalk Talk session lead by Redskins alumni Richard “Doc” Walker, former tight end.

Walker, now a radio sports commentator, answered questions and discussed the importance of staying driven.

“He was a very motivating speaker,” said Pfc. Monaisia Young, a unit supply specialist with TOG. “He encouraged us to get up in the morning ready to take on the day and not to hit the snooze button on life.”

“I really like what he said about staying motivated on the inside,” said Spc. Christiana Howard, a human resources specialist with TOG. “Meaning, that if you aren’t motivated on the inside it is likely to show on the outside and effect our team. He stressed the importance of teamwork.”

Next, service members were given a special tour of the Redskin’s training facility.

During the tour, guests were given exclusive access to the training facility and observed the team during a private practice session.

“It was great to get to witness the hard work the players put into their training,” said Spc. Amia Lawrence, a human resource specialist with TOG. “This is something that most people don’t get the privilege to experience and I am grateful.”

“The players love events like this,” said Wright. “They see the men and women in uniform as the professionals they are and the just want to show their appreciation in any way that they can.”

Following the practice, service members had the opportunity to get memorabilia autographed and take photographs with the players.

“I really enjoyed getting the chance to meet the players,” said Lawrence. “My family and I are all really big fans of the Redskins, so I’m really here representing for all of them.”

The event was effective according to Wright.

“I think that today was a successful experience for everyone involved,” said Wright. “We at USAA I just want to extend our sincere appreciation to all service members and veterans.”

Eligibility for Redskins Salute includes all active duty service members, members of the National Guard and Reserves, and military veterans, from all branches in the U.S. military. Individuals interested can join free of charge by visiting www.redskinssalute.com.

My journey through ROP week two

20170414

Soldiers new to 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) practice stationary rifle manual positions April 20, 2017 at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va. This is part the Regimental Orientation Program, a three week hands-on-developmental training for new Old Guard Soldiers. (U.S. Army photos by Spc. Kristian Mack)

Story by Sgt. Nicholas Holmes

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON, Va. – The Regimental Orientation Program, more commonly known as, ROP amongst The Old Guard members, is a three week, hands-on, developmental training program for Soldiers new to the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (Old Guard) at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia.

With the first week behind me, I was excited to begin the second portion of the ROP training.

“The purpose of week two is to ensure that Soldiers are proficient in executing stationary rifle manual positions,” said Staff Sgt. Shay Lomas, noncommissioned officer in charge of week two training.

In order to advance from week two of ROP, we were required to pass an Army Service Uniform inspection, complete a 60-minute stand and properly execute the stationary rifle manual positions.

Like in week one, the 60-minute stand would require us to move from the positions of attention and parade rest as the instructors review our uniforms.

During the evaluation of the stationary rifle manual positions, instructors would assess how well we executed each command called by the proctor. We would need to complete the evaluation with no more than three mistakes.

I knew that this week was going to be more of a challenge for me. However, I was determined to stay optimistic.

On the first day, we learned each of the stationary rifle positions and how to properly move between each of them.

At first, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of commands and positions we were learning.

“For a lot of new Soldiers the most challenging thing is getting over their nerves,” said Lomas.

As each day progressed I began to understand what Staff Sgt. Lomas meant when he said this.

I needed to not only to be deliberate and swift with my movements, but also mentally.

As I began to remind myself to stay calm and focused, my execution of each command began to improve. However as I would make small mistakes, I found it more difficult to apply this concept.

On the morning of testing I was hopeful I would do well. I was confident in my uniform and less concerned about the 60-minute stand. Although, I still was not sure how I was going to do with the stationary rifle manual positions.

The test started with a 60-minute stand. Because I knew what to expect, I did not feel it was as difficult as the previous week.

After passing this portion of the evaluation, we were given time to review the stationary rifle manual position evaluation.

I ran through the commands with the instructor one last time. I was pleased with how I executed each of the commands. I felt that I would have passed if it were the actual evaluation.

Now I was ready, I felt I was going to pass for sure.

“Tighten up,” yelled Lomas, indicating the start of the evaluation.

I snapped to the position of parade rest.

“Old Guard, attention,” yelled Lomas.

I was doing great!

As Lomas yells “All heads, right,” I made a mistake by slightly turning my head before dropping it. I should have dropped head straight down.

My confidence seemed to immediately drain from me like water down a drain.

I competed the test. However, sadly I did not pass. I ended up making a total of five mistakes.

“For you today, it was your nerves,” said Lomas. “You got into your own head, but that happens. It is all about staying confident.”

Now, instead of advancing to week three I will repeat week two so I can improve these skills test again.

My first week of ROP training

Story by Sgt. Nicholas Holmes

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. – The Regimental Orientation Program, more commonly known as ROP amongst The Old Guard members, is a three week hands-on-developmental training for new Old Guard soldiers at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia.

When I arrived at TOG I immediately learned about ROP as I began to converse with Soldiers in my new command. I was generally told what ROP is and some of the standards required to pass the course. Requirements, such as long stands at attention and hours of marching with rifles.

I was honor to be a part of the oldest active infantry regiment in the Army however, I was also slightly intimidated by what I was learning about this three week training.

On the first day Sgt. Gary White, a week one ROP instructor, explained the standards to pass for the first week, which focused on the preparation of the Army Service Uniform.

We were required to pass an ASU inspection with less than seven deficiency and complete a 45-minute stand at the positions attention and parade rest.

The inspection was graded on a 100-point scale that evaluated the appearance of our uniform. We were evaluated individually for deficiencies which included, placements of decorations, cleanliness of uniform and our physical appearance, among others.

During the first day of training, we covered the ceremonial cap, ribbon rack building and started placing decorations and awards on our uniforms.

The training began with how to alter the C-Cap so that it is worn to the specifications of The Old Guard. This required us to apply measured pieces of wire to the interior of the caps so that they would sit properly.

Following this lesson, instructors led the class through a step-by-step process of building award ribbon racks.

“A lot of Soldiers have a challenge with the meticulous aspect of building the metals rack,” said White. “It is a lot like arts and crafts and a lot of Soldiers just aren’t used to having to do this.”

Using tin, ribbon, a hot glue gun and a razor to mark our measurements, we began this tedious process, paying careful attention to detail. After each step instructors would evaluate each of our racks before moving to the next step.

I appreciated this because it ensured we were executing each step correctly. I feel that it increased understanding and kept the instruction at a steady pace.

After completing the ribbons rack, instructors applied this same teaching method to pin our uniforms.

The following day the instruction was on how to steam and press our uniforms.

While in the pressing room instructors worked with each of us individually to teach the functions of the machines and the process of pressing each of our ASU garments.

The instructors were great at explaining this process. Additionally, they shared their personal tips to avoid common mistakes and helpful ways to correct common errors.

The class prior to test day, Soldiers were given additional time to ask questions and use any of the equipment to ensure uniforms met the standards to pass.

The morning of the test was daunting. I was confident in my uniform, however I was nervous about standing for 45 minutes. I believed I did everything I could do to prepare.

I got a good night rest, ate a healthy breakfast and consumed plenty of water. All I could do now was focus on the task in front of me.

In the warm classroom, I looked straight ahead into the mirror in front of me, moving from each position as instructed. By the time my feet began to go numb and the sweat had soaked through my shirt, the instructor finally called for us to fallout and the test was complete.

I was happy to know I made it to the next portion of the training and was excited to learn more about what is takes to be an Old Guard Soldier.

Joint base makes safety a priority

Story by: Staff Sgt. Kelvin Ringold

3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard)

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va. — Safety comes first in the military.  Mission success depends on the hard work and efforts of everyone collectively.  Losing any member of the team is a severe blow to any organization.  Learning how to reduce those risks is an important measure taken by leadership every day.

The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) participated in a garrison wide Safety Stand Down Day May 12, 2017, on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va.

Safety Stand Down occurs every May prior to the 101 days of summer.

Joined by both military and civilian organizations including the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Fairfax County PD, JBM-HH Fire Department and Resiliency training from country singer Jimmy Wayne to name a few, everyone participated with the same mission in mind.

“Safety remains a priority for the Army, Military District of Washington, and the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment,” said Col. Jason T. Garkey, regimental commander.  “Off Duty incidents continue to be among the Army’s biggest challenges. It is important to emphasize certain safety topics and mitigating factors in order to maintain our ability to perform our daily missions and preserve the force.”

Having 13 local and outside entities there to support Safety Stand Down showed how serious the regiment takes protecting its Soldiers.

“We want our Soldiers to think about safety all of the time,” explained Kerry K. Kolhof, Safety and Occupational Health Manager for the regiment.  “However Safety Day is a chance to focus on safety as a mission and not something running in the background.”

With classes on motorcycle safety, distracted driving, fire safety and home gun safety among others, Soldiers had topics that resonated with everyone.

“The most important thing Soldiers can take away from Safety Day is the fact that even with the chain of command stressing safety, they themselves are responsible for their safety and the safety of the people around them,” said Kolhof.”

Spc. Paul Jacobson, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3d U.S. Inf. Regt., has been in the Army for almost 5 years, and got the most out of Dominion Energy’s electrical safety class.

“It helped bring awareness to things that could seriously harm individuals and we learned how to react to them,” said Jacobson.  “It had a lot of good information that a lot of people don’t think about.”

With another Safety Stand Down having come and gone, it’s every leaders hope that the things Soldiers learned today will be put into practice everyday.

Goggles.jpg

EnterCommand Sgt. Maj. Scott Beeson, 3d U.S. Inf. Regt. (TOG) Command sergeant major, tries to walk normally while wearing the impaired vision goggles May 12, 2017 during Safety Stand Down Day at JBM-HH, Va.  Provided by the Army Substance Abuse Program, the goggles were designed to show Soldiers the dangers of doing everyday things while impaired. (Photos by Pfc. Gabriel Silva)

Power.jpg

Enter aSoldiers from the 3d U.S. Inf. Regt. (TOG) look on as during a demonstration from Dominion Energy during Safety Stand Down Day May 12, 2017 on JBM-HH, Va.  As part of Safety Stand Down, Soldiers were shown the dangers of downed power lines and taught electrical safety tips. (Photos by Pfc. Gabriel Silva)

Swim.jpg

Enter Service members from the U.S. Coast Guard participate in Safety Stand Down Day May 12, 2017 on JBM-HH, Va.  With summer approaching, Coast Guard service members taught the Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Inf. Regt. (TOG) water and safety tips to help prevent any water related injuries. (Photos by Pfc. Gabriel Silva)

“As a leader it is my hope that those who attended Safety Day took away the knowledge needed to prevent injury or death of a civilian, Soldier or family member,” said 1st Sgt. Phillip A. DuRousseau Sr., HHC first sergeant.  “One injury or death is one too many especially when they could have been prevented by safe practices.”

 

Old Guard Soldiers lay Revolutionary War veteran to final resting place

Story by Sgt. Nicholas T. Holmes

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. – Clouds hung low overhead creating a soft and divine backdrop around the small cemetery that morning. The sound of rain hitting the blush green leafs of trees surrounding the quant outdoor chapel is all that can be heard.

Generations of family members, friends, local officials and members from the community slowly gathered into the chapel, located at the bottom of the cemetery’s rolling hills.

Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) participated in a reinterment ceremony for an American Revolutionary War veteran Samuel Howard, his wife and their infant on May 12, 2017, at Resthaven Cemetery in Baxter, Kentucky.

“Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work accomplished by the corps and the Howard family along with local officials to save these remains,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Toy, commander of The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers South Pacific Division, (USACE SPD). “This is an example of the Army’s commitment to taking care of Soldiers and their families in life and beyond.”

Howard died on December 5, 1840 in Harlan County, Kentucky. He was 78 years old.

Howard, Chloe his wife and their unnamed infant were originally laid to rest over 177 years ago at Highlands Cemetery in Cumberland, Kentucky. Due to development of the area in the 1970s the family’s remains where relocated to Wix Howard Cemetery in Harlan, Kentucky.

The Wix Howard Cemetery lies along steep slopes of the Cumberland River. In the late 1990s, USACE constructed diversion channels in an effort to prevent the river from further eroding the cemetery grounds.

After 20 years, the diversion channel began to slide into the river and threatened portions of the cemetery. This required the immediate exhumations of the family’s graves in addition to three others.

Sharon Osborne and Stephanie Fisther, descendants of Howard, navigate multiple local and national levels of government channels in the effort to save the family’s remains from sliding into the river.

They eventually got the attention of The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lakes and River Nashville, (USACE LRN).

“Both of them were very instrumental in saving the Howard’s remains,” said Craig Carrington, chief of plan formulation section with USACE LRN. “They worked very close with the corps.”

In November 2016, USACE LRN successfully recovered the family’s remains and secured the remains at the Resthaven Cemetery.

“This was a learning process for everyone involved,” said Maj. Christopher Burkhart, deputy commander with USACE LRN. “But, we were committed to ensuring this was done right so that we could render the proper honor to Samuel and his family.”

Howard enlisted into the Army in 1778 and served in Captain Mayo Carrington’s Company of the Virginia Line during the Revolutionary War.

He served seven years under General George Washington’s command. Howard witnessed British General Charles Cornwallis surrender 8,000 British soldiers to Washington in 1781 at Yorktown, Virginia. This brought the American Revolution War to a close.

Howard and Chloe married in 1784, the couple went on to have 12 children.

The Howard family moved to Kentucky in 1796, just four years after the state adopted its statehood constitution.

The family was among the first settlers to come to Harlan County. Howard was active in many community affairs and is considered by many to be one of the county’s founding leader.

As the nation’s premier memorial affair’s unit USACE reached out to The Old Guard to perform the ceremony.

The Old Guard Soldiers participation in the ceremony was appreciated by USACE leaders.

“I want to thank The Old Guard Soldiers for traveling all this way to be here today,” said Toy. “It is fitting and proper to have them here on this occasion.”

33836852194_0e5d9533be_o

Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, (The Old Guard) carry the remains of an American Revolutionary War veteran Samuel Howard during a reinterment ceremony on May 12, 2017 at Resthaven Cemetery in Baxter, Kentucky. The family’s remains were exhumed from Wix Howard Cemetery in Harlan, Kentucky due to erosion. (U.S. Army photos by Sgt. Nicholas T. Holmes)

34517332192_9ac385f50f_o

Brig. Gen. Mark Toy, commander of The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers South Pacific Division, presents the national colors to Sharon Osborne, a descendent of American Revolutionary War veteran Samuel Howard, during a reinterment ceremony on May 12, 2017 at Resthaven Cemetery in Baxter, Kentucky. Osborne worked closely with USACE representatives to save the family’s remains from eroding away in the Cumberland River. (U.S. Army photos by Sgt. Nicholas T. Holmes)

34548833531_87b17f05d6_o

Soldiers from the3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, (The Old Guard) stand at present arms to honor the national colors during the reinterment ceremony of American Revolutionary War veteran Samuel Howard on May 12, 2017 at Resthaven Cemetery in Baxter, Kentucky. The family’s remains were exhumed from Wix Howard Cemetery in Harlan, Kentucky due to erosion. (U.S. Army photos by Sgt. Nicholas T. Holmes)

“We were esteemed to have the Soldiers from 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, participate in the rendering of the military honors,” said Carrington.

Spouse recognized for dedication to military, family

Story by: Staff Sgt. Kelvin Ringold; Photos by: Spc. Daniel Yeadon

3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard)

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va. — Military members live a life full of many trials and tribulations.  In order to be successful, it takes a strong team effort.  For many Soldiers, part of that teamwork involves their spouses.  During the month of May, those spouses get recognized for the things they do to support their Soldier, unit and community.

On May 12, 2017, the nation will observe Military Spouse Appreciation Day.  There are a lot of hard working spouses that deserve to be recognized, but for the leadership and Soldiers of 4th Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), Mrs. Lori Thompson has continued to excel at helping Soldiers since becoming a part of the unit.

Thompson arrived to The Old Guard with her husband, who is part of the Commander-in-Chief’s Guard, in February 2016 and immediately became involved with the Family Readiness Group (FRG).

A native of Rochester, Minnesota and Chicago, Illinois, both of her parents are in the Army and she accredits that to her unselfish nature.

“I was brought up learning the importance of giving back,” said Thompson.  “I learned to volunteer through church.”

Since marrying her spouse in 2008, Thompson has stayed involved with programs like the FRG and always enjoys helping out anyone she can.

“I have been a FRG leader for the better part of my volunteer time,” explained Thompson. “I am an Army Family Team Building (AFTB) instructor. I help out with battalion events as well as help plan events.

For the past nine years, Thompson has embraced her role as a loving spouse to someone in the military, and all that comes with it.

“To me,” explained Thompson.  “Being a military spouse means being part of the community that becomes your family away from family.”

Looking back on what this day means to so many helps Thompson further put it all in perspective.

“Military Spouse Appreciation Day means that as a military spouse, I do sacrifice,” said Thompson.  “But not as much as my husband. I am the back bone of my family, and without military spouses, the Soldiers wouldn’t have additional support to help them with their careers.”

For her recent efforts, Thompson was recognized by the command team for her continued support of the Soldiers and families of 4th Battalion.

“Lori Thompson has been a tremendous asset to not only CinC Guard, but to the battalion as a whole,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Morgan, 4th Battalion commander.  “We couldn’t do some of the great things we do for our Soldiers and families without her.”

Thompson was also recognized as the Volunteer of the Year in April by the Joint Myer-Henderson Hall command team for her selfless service to the post and surrounding community.

“I feel very honored to be named Volunteer of the Year,” said Thompson.

Even though she has received accolades since she entered the world of being a military spouse, Thompson does not plan on slowing down any time soon.

“I love volunteering and helping is in my nature,” exclaimed Thompson.  “Making an impact on the Soldiers of this unit is my pride and joy. I love helping the best families on earth!”

VOY

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Commander Patrick M. Duggan and Command Sgt. Maj. Carolyn Y. Donaldson present Mrs. Lori Thompson with a Volunteer of the Year award April 16, 2017, in Spates Hall on JBM-HH, Va.   Thompson has continued to excel at helping Soldiers, families and the community since coming to the post. (Photo by Spc. Daniel Yeadon)

Rider proves to be stable of Caisson Platoon

Story by: Staff Sgt. Kelvin Ringold

3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard)

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va.— For Soldiers from the Caisson Platoon, 1st Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), their everyday missions take them through Arlington National Cemetery paying respects to not only those service members no longer with us, but to their Families as well.  Once riders surpass 500 funeral missions, they receive brass spurs.  One rider’s accomplishments were recognized with never-before-seen custom spurs.

Staff Sgt. Steven Taylor, rider, Caisson Platoon, was honored April 27, 2017, during a ceremony at the Caisson Barn on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia.

During the ceremony, Taylor was presented with a newly custom-made pair of black spurs for accumulating over 1000 funeral missions, a feat not achieved in recent Caisson history, if ever.

“In recorded history that we know of, there has never been a rider to serve in 1,000 funerals,” explained Capt. Austin Hatch, Caisson Platoon leader.  “The closest that we currently have recorded is 576.”

Taylor has been in the Caisson Platoon since April 2, 2014, and this accomplishment just adds to his achievements that have impressed the leadership here since his arrival.

“It’s an amazing show of leadership,” exclaimed Col. Jason T. Garkey, 3d U.S. Inf. Regt. commander.  “I can’t tell you how much we appreciate your dedication and professionalism.”

Gaining this prestigious honor is something Taylor didn’t expect but is extremely appreciative of.

“It’s definitely an honor to hit 1000 rides,” said Taylor.  “I’ve seen it as a number before as I marked them down.  Once I saw it was so close, I just kept on going.”

If 1000 rides was achieved prior to his accomplishment, it wasn’t done during one tour.

“There may have been people that have done it before,” said Taylor.   “But they had been here at different times in their careers.  It took me 3 years and 25 days to get 1000 rides.”

After hitting this monumental mark, Taylor will embark on his “last ride” in June, and will then move from Caisson to spend his time as the battalion retention NCO to continue helping Soldiers.

After all he has been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time, the battalion leadership still expects to see him continue to set the bar high.

“If he puts half the passion and dedication he does for us as he does honoring Soldiers and their Families,” said Lt. Col. Jody Shouse, 1st Battalion commander.  “Then it’s a win-win for sergeant major and I.”

Since his time in the platoon is almost complete, Taylor had some advice for fellow riders to get the best out of their time in Caisson, and to ensure repeated mission success.

Shake

Capt. Austin Hatch, Caisson Platoon leader, presents Staff Sgt. Steven Taylor with custom-made black spurs during a ceremony at the Caisson Stable on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., April 27, 2017.  Riders receive brass spurs for finishing 500 funeral missions, but since Taylor was the first to surpass 1000, custom spurs were made for the achievement.a caption

Ride

Staff Sgt. Steven Taylor, Caisson Platoon, 1st Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) leads his team to ANC for a memorial affairs mission on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., April 27, 2017.  For his dedicated memorial support, Taylor was presented custom-made black spurs for completing over 1000 funeral missions in his three years as part of The Old Guard.