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3rd United States Infantry Regiment
3rd Infantry Regiment COA.svg
3rd Infantry coat of arms
Active 1784-present
Allegiance United States
Branch U.S. Army
Type Infantry
Role Memorial affairs, ceremonies and special events (two battalions)
Stryker infantry (one battalion)
Size Four battalions (three active)
Garrison/HQ 1st Battalion – Fort Myer, VA
2nd Battalion – Fort Lewis, WA
4th Battalion – Fort Myer
Nickname(s) "The Old Guard"[1]
Motto(s) Noli Me Tangere (English: Touch Me Not)
Colors Blue and white (modern)
Buff and black (historical)[2]
March The Old Guard March[3]

Indian Wars
*Hardin's Defeat
*Battle of the Wabash
*Battle of Fallen Timbers
*Battle of Sugar Point
War of 1812
*Siege of Fort Meigs
*Battle of Fort Stephenson
Mexican–American War
American Civil War
Spanish–American War
Philippine Insurrection
World War II
Vietnam War
Iraq War

Global War on Terrorism

Colonel James C. Markert[4]
Lieutenant Colonel Paul Octave Hébert
Distinctive unit insignia 3rd Infantry Regiment DUI.png

The 3rd United States Infantry Regiment is a regiment of the United States Army. It currently has three active battalions, and is readily identified by its nickname, "The Old Guard," as well as "Escort to the President". The regimental motto is Noli Me Tangere (from Latin: – "Touch me Not"). The regiment is a major unit of the Military District of Washington (MDW).

The regiment is the oldest active duty regiment in the army, having been first organized as the First American Regiment in 1784.[5][6]


The regiment's mission is to conduct memorial affairs to honor fallen comrades and ceremonies and special events to represent the U.S. Army, communicating its story to United States citizens and the world. On order, it conducts defense support of civil authorities in the National Capital Region and deploys elements in support of overseas contingency operations.[4]

Memorial affairs and ceremonial mission

Memorial affairs missions include standard and full honors funerals in Arlington National Cemetery and dignified transfers at Dover Air Force Base. Old Guard soldiers also perform all dignified transfers of fallen soldiers returning to the United States.[citation needed]

The Old Guard's ceremonial task list includes full honor arrivals for visiting dignitaries, wreath ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknowns, and full honor reviews in support of senior army leaders and retiring soldiers. Special events include the Twilight Tattoo, a weekly performance in the adjacent Washington area on Wednesday evenings from May to July, and the Spirit of America, a historical pageant presented at three national venues in September.

The Old Guard is the only unit in the U.S. Armed Forces authorized, by a 1922 decree of the War Department, to march with fixed bayonets in all parades.[7] This was granted in honor of the 1847 bayonet charge by the regiment during the Battle of Cerro Gordo in the war with Mexico.

Specialty units

In addition to the marching platoons, there are also elements of The Old Guard that serve special roles unique both to the regiment as well as the US Army. Among these include the sentinels of the Tomb of the Unknowns, maintaining a twenty-four hour watch over one of the nation's most sacred sites; the Continental Color Guard, which presents the nation's colors at special events across the Capitol Region; the Presidential Salute Battery, which renders honors to senior dignitaries at arrival and wreath ceremonies, reviews, and full honors funerals; and the US Army Caisson Platoon, which provides horses and riders to pull the caisson (the wagon that bears a casket) in military and state funerals.

The Old Guard's Caisson Platoon at Arlington National Cemetery

The Caisson Platoon also provides the riderless horses used in full honors funerals and supports wounded warriors participating in the Therapeutic Riding Program. Other elements of The Old Guard include the Commander-in-Chief's guard (Company A), replicating the personal guard of General George Washington; wearing Colonial blue uniforms, powdered wigs, and tricorn hats; and bearing Brown Bess muskets and halberds at ceremonies and special events; the US Army Drill Team, which demonstrates its skill and precision around the nation, and Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, which plays traditional arrangements of marching music, dating back to the time of the Continental Army. The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps marches in Colonial style red coated uniforms—to be "better seen through the smoke of battle"; the uniforms also include tricorn hats and white powdered wigs. The drum major of the Fife and Drum Corps traditionally bears an espontoon[8] (a historic pike-like weapon) in his right hand to direct and command his unit.[8] As such, he is the only soldier in all the U.S. Armed Forces authorized to bear a spontoon and to salute with the left hand[citation needed] (although U.S. Navy personnel are allowed to salute with the left hand under certain conditions).[9] Rounding out The Old Guard are the 289th Military Police Company, the 947th Military Working Dog Detachment, the 529th Regimental Support Company, two battalion headquarters companies, and the regimental headquarters company.

The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps on parade in October 2006.

Other operations

Although The Old Guard primarily functions in a ceremonial role, it is an infantry unit and thus required to meet standards for certification in its combat role. The unit also trains for its support role to civil authorities in a wide range of scenarios and for deployments in support of overseas contingency operations.[10]

In 2003, The Old Guard deployed for the first time since the Vietnam War. Bravo Company was dispatched to the Horn of Africa, where it established a forward base in rural Ethiopia.[11][12] The base and missions, intended primarily to train Ethiopian military personnel, were part of the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), a Global War on Terrorism operation.[11] In 2007, the regiment's Delta company was deployed to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti as part of CJTF-HOA, supporting humanitarian missions and local military training in the region.[13] Charlie Company deployed to Camp Taji, Iraq, in 2009 to execute its theater internment support mission.[14]

The 4th Battalion in Vietnam (1967–68)

The Old Guard was officially activated at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii on July 1, 1966- Commanded by LTC Harold J Meyer. The battalion consisted initially of Headquarters and Headquarters Company and A Company, containing one officer/five enlisted men and twenty one enlisted men respectively. By December 31, 1966, the battalion strength had increased to 37 officers, two warrant officers and 492 enlisted men.

When the battalion was reactivated, it utilized facilities formerly occupied by elements of the 25th infantry Division. During the period of July 1, 1966 through September 10, 1966 the battalion conducted preparation for Basic Unit Training since most of the Old Guard's lower enlisted personnel had never served with a regular unit. The non-commissioned officers, on the other hand, were greatly experienced with many recent returns from Vietnam.

On August 15, 1967 the 11th Infantry Brigade adopted the "light Infantry" concept. By selecting one rifle platoon and personnel from the weapons platoon from each line company, an additional line company, delta, was introduced to the battalion. Further by removing the 4.2" mortar and reconnaissance platoons and the ground surveillance section from the former headquarters company, a combat support company, Echo, was created with these two changes to the battalion, the revised strength authorization totaled 44 officers, 1 warrant officer and 886 enlisted men.

On July 7,[when?] the Old Guard conducted a farewell review for its departing commander, Lieutenant Colonel Meyer and simultaneously Major C. Hartsfield assumed interim command of the battalion. On July 20, The Old Guard welcomed Lieutenant Colonel Alvin E. Adkins as its new commander. Adkins had previously served in WWII, the Korean conflict and Vietnam.

On December 2, 25 personnel of the advance party, including LTC Adkins, the company commanders and additional key staff members departed by aircraft for Vietnam. Shortly thereafter at 2330 hrs on December 5 the main body left Honolulu pier 40 on the USNS General Gordon. After 14 days at sea, the main body arrived at Qui Nhon harbor and proceeded by vehicle convoy north along highway 1 to Duc Pho and a base of operations known as Carentan. In-country training and combat operations commenced immediately, throughout the remainder of 1967 the battalion conducted search and destroy missions outside of Carentan and to the west of Duc Pho, sustaining light casualties and grasping a firm hold on the combat situation.Here Delta Company recorded the brigade's first Purple Heart recipient SP/4 Bobby L. Godwin, who was wounded in the leg while on patrol.

Other medal recipients in 1967:

  • Major Roy Holck – Bronze Star;
  • Specialist 5 Robert Olsen – Air Medal;
  • Sergeant Frank Villigas – Bronze Star;
  • Sergeant Phillip Bridges- Bronze Star;
  • Second Lieutenant Kendrick- Silver Star;
  • Sergeant Maddox- Bronze Star / V device (posthumously')

1 January 68 to June 1, 1968 The following is a generalized summary of the activities of the battalion and related companies: HHC: • January 26, PFC James Schliebner (Medic) wounded during mine explosion • SSG Jose Alvarez Sanchez (battalion Mess) Wounded mortar attack • February 12, SP/4 Maurice Lee (medic) Silver Star On March 11 atop LZ Sue, a fire broke out in one of the mortar platoons ammunition bunkers. An imminent disaster was averted by the quick reaction and leadership on the part of the officers and non commissioned officers in the vicinity, Major Howard Hartsfield, battalion executive officer and Captain john McAnaw, S-3 Air, were recommended for the Soldier's Medal and Bronze Star respectively, for their part in preventing the destruction of the fire base and all its personnel. On the following day, SP/4 Richard Silva, a medic attached to company B was recommended for the Bronze Star with “V” for exposing himself to intense enemy automatic weapons and motor fire while administering to the wounded personnel from the company. Company A On January 15, while conducting combat operations in the general area of LZ Sue, the company came under heavy fire for the first time and suffered one casualty. LT William Lance was hit by small arms fire in the knee and was evacuated for treatment, two days later, in subsequent action; PFC Thomas Rowe was hit in the shoulder by grenade shrapnel and was removed from the field. On the 21st, SP/4 Bobby West became the unit's first fatality, morally wounded by sniper fire. Fr his superior performance with the company, SP/4 West was posthumously promoted to SGT and awarded the Bronze Star. On February 23, the company again ran into enemy resistance and took sever casualties. SP/4 Douglas McNabb was fatally wounded from a grenade explosion, while PFC's Carl Marlo, Dennis Lane and Ronald Krul were evacuated with shrapnel, wounds from the same action. SP/4 Mc Nabb was later posthumously presented the Bronze Star for service. February 29- 113 Combat Infantry Badges and 6 Bronze Stars awarded March Operation also witnessed combat casualties SP/4 Edward Riley, Herman Tatum and PFC Shuer were injured as a result of a mine explosion. On March 28 SP/4 William Morgan, Owen Harrod (medic) and PFC Jimmy Nettles were wounded and evacuated to the 2nd surgical hospital. Working out of LZ sue during the month of April, the company suffered additional casualties. On the 3rd, PFC Skumurski was fatally wounded by a mine and on the 5th PFC Ross was killed while conducting ambush patrol. Awards in March: SP/4 Craig Slocum- received a Silver Star for gallantry in action while on a night ambush patrol. During the operation and enemy grenade was thrown into the position of Slocum's comrades, with compete disregard for his own safety, he raced toward the live explosive and threw it back toward the enemy before it had the opportunity to inflict heavy casualty. SP/4 Daniel Brettelle was presented a second Bronze Star for his outstanding courage in aiding several wounded while under constant enemy observation and fire, LTC Adkins presented SGT Richard Junk a Purple Heart for wounds he received.

1st Battalion

A gun salute being fired by the Presidential Salute Guns Battery

A member of Caisson Platoon escorts 'Sergeant York', the riderless horse used during the funeral procession for the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan.

The battalion is composed of the following units:

  • HHC, 1st Battalion, 3rd US Infantry Regiment (TOG)
    • Caisson Platoon
    • Presidential Salute Battery
    • Headquarters Platoon
    • Battalion Staff Sections: (S1, S2, S3, S4, S6)
  • Bravo Company
    • Escort Platoon
    • Casket Platoon
    • Firing Party Platoon
    • Headquarters Platoon
  • Charlie Company
    • Escort Platoon
    • Casket Platoon
    • Firing Party Platoon
    • Headquarters Platoon
  • Delta Company
    • Escort Platoon
    • Casket Platoon
    • Firing Party Platoon
    • Headquarters Platoon
  • Hotel Company
    • Escort Platoon
    • Casket Platoon
    • Firing Party Platoon
    • Headquarters Platoon

4th Battalion

The 4th Battalion was reactivated on Fort Myer in 2008.

The battalion is composed of the following units:

The United States Army Drill Team

  • Headquarters & Headquarters Company (HHC), 4th Battalion, 3rd US Infantry Regiment (TOG)
    • Tomb Guards, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
    • The United States Army Drill Team
    • Battalion Staff Sections: (S1, S2, S3, S4, S6)
  • Alpha Company (Commander-In-Chief's Guard)
    • Three Colonial Marching Platoons
  • Echo Company (Honor Guard Company)
    • Escort Platoon
    • Casket Platoon
    • Firing Party
    • Continental Color Guard
  • 289th Military Police Company
  • The Old Guard Fife & Drum Corps

Regimental separate companies

  • HHC, 3rd US Infantry Regiment (TOG):
    • Coordinating Staff
    • Ceremonial Equipment Branch
    • Communications Platoon
    • Chaplains Office
    • Public Affairs Office
    • Regimental Recruiters
    • The Old Guard Museum
  • 529th Regimental Support Company
    • Headquarters Section
    • Food Service Platoon
    • Maintenance Platoon
    • Transportation Platoon
    • Medical Platoon

2nd Battalion

Stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington, the 2nd Battalion, 3rd US Infantry Regiment, serves as one of three infantry battalions of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 2nd Infantry Division ('Indian Head'). After a 31-year hiatus from service, the 2nd Battalion was reactivated on March 15, 2001 as part of the US Army's first Stryker brigade combat team. It served as part of the first deployment of a Stryker brigade combat team in 2003. It then served a 15-month deployment in 2006–2007. It deployed to Iraq again in 2009 and Afghanistan in 2011. From 1966 to 1970, the 2nd Battalion was part of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade in Vietnam.

  • HHC, 2nd Battalion, 3rd US Infantry Regiment
    • Scout Platoon
    • Fires Support Platoon
    • Mortar Platoon
    • Medical Platoon
    • Sniper Section
  • A Company
    • First Platoon
    • Second Platoon
    • Third Platoon
    • Mobile Gun System (MGS) Platoon
    • Mortar Section
  • B Company
    • First Platoon
    • Second Platoon
    • Third Platoon
    • Mobile Gun System (MGS) Platoon
    • Mortar Section
  • C Company
    • First Platoon
    • Second Platoon
    • Third Platoon
    • Mobile Gun System (MGS) Platoon
    • Mortar Section

3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th Battalions

The 3rd Battalion, was inactivated on August 25, 1994. From 1963 until its inactivation, it was one of the three light infantry battalions that made up the Army Reserve's 205th Infantry Brigade (Light)(Separate), which in turn was the round-out brigade for the Regular Army's 6th Infantry Division (Light), based at Fort Richardson and Fort Wainwright, Alaska. The 205th Infantry Brigade was headquartered at Fort Snelling, Minnesota until its inactivationdisambiguation needed. The 3rd Battalion was scheduled to activate at Fort Carson as part of the 5th IBCT/4th Infantry Division. The activation was cancelled when the army froze at 45 brigades.

The 5th Battalion, was activated on November 24, 1967 and assigned to the 6th Infantry Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. It was relieved from assignment to the 6th Infantry Division on July 24, 1968, and inactivated on July 21, 1969 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

The 6th Battalion, was activated on November 24, 1967 and assigned to the 6th Infantry Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. It was relieved from assignment to the 6th Infantry Division on July 24, 1968, and inactivated on February 1, 1969 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

The 7th Battalion, was activated on November 24, 1967 and assigned to the 6th Infantry Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. It was relieved from assignment to the 6th Infantry Division on July 24, 1968, and inactivated on July 25, concurrent with the inactivation of the 6th Infantry Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Medals of Honor

The following 3rd Infantry soldiers have been awarded the Medal of Honor:

  • Indian Wars
Sergeant James Fegan, Company H, March 1868, Plum Creek, Kansas
Corporal Leander Herron, Company A, September 2, 1868, near Fort Dodge, Kansas
Private Robert Smith, Company M, September 9, 1876, Slim Buttes, Montana

Oscar Burkard

Oscar Burkard of the U.S. Army Hospital Corps, attached to the 3rd U.S. Infantry, received the Medal of Honor for his actions on October 5, 1898 in the Battle of Sugar Point at Leech Lake, Minnesota.[15]<[16] It is listed by the U.S. Office of Medical History as the last Medal of Honor awarded in an Indian campaign.[17] The Old Guard participated in one of the first battles of the Indian Wars – the Harmar Campaign in 1790- and one of the last battle of the Indian Wars- the Battle of Sugar Point in 1898.
  • Vietnam War
Corporal Michael Fleming Folland, Company D, 2nd Battalion, July 3, 1969, Long Khanh (posthumous)


  • Constituted June 3, 1784 in the Regular Army as the First American Regiment to consist of companies from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
  • Organized August–September 1784 in Pennsylvania and New Jersey (New York and Connecticut companies organized in 1785)
  • Redesignated September 29, 1789 as the Regiment of Infantry
  • Redesignated March 3, 1791 as the 1st Infantry Regiment
  • Redesignated in 1792 as the Infantry of the 1st Sub-Legion
  • Redesignated October 31, 1796 as the 1st Infantry Regiment
  • Consolidated May–October 1815 with the 5th Infantry Regiment (constituted April 12, 1808), the 17th Infantry Regiment (constituted January 11, 1812), the 19th Infantry Regiment (constituted June 26, 1812), and the 28th Infantry Regiment (constituted January 29, 1813) to form the 3rd Infantry
  • Consolidated August–December 1869 with one-half of the 37th Infantry Regiment (see ANNEX) and consolidated unit designated as the 3rd Infantry
  • (2nd and 3rd Battalions inactivated November 18, 1921 at Fort Snelling, Minnesota; activated June 8, 1922 at Fort Snelling, Minnesota)
  • Assigned March 24, 1923 to the 7th Division
  • Relieved August 15, 1927 from assignment to the 7th Division and assigned to the 6th Division
  • Relieved October 1, 1933 from assignment to the 6th Division and assigned to the 7th Division
  • Relieved October 16, 1939 from assignment to the 7th Division and assigned to the 6th Division
  • Relieved May 10, 1941 from assignment to the 6th Division
  • (1st Battalion inactivated June 1, 1941 at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; activated February 14, 1942 in Newfoundland)
  • (2nd Battalion (less Headquarters and Headquarters Company) inactivated September 1, 1942 at Fort Snelling, Minnesota (Headquarters and Headquarters Company concurrently inactivated in Greenland); battalion activated October 22, 1943 at Camp Butner, North Carolina)
  • Inactivated November 20, 1946 in Germany
  • Regiment (less 2nd Battalion) activated April 6, 1948 at Fort Myer, Virginia (2nd Battalion concurrently activated at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.)
  • Reorganized July 1, 1957 as a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System
  • Withdrawn January 16, 1986 from the Combat Arms Regimental System and reorganized under the United States Army Regimental System
  • Constituted May 3, 1861 in the Regular Army as the 3rd Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment.
  • Organized May 1865 – September 1866 at Fort Wayne, Michigan; Newport Barracks, Kentucky; and Fort Columbus, New York
  • Reorganized and redesignated November 23, 1866 as the 37th Infantry Regiment.
  • One-half of the 37th Infantry consolidated August–December 1869 with the 3rd Infantry and consolidated unit designated as the 3rd Infantry (remaining half of the 37th Infantry consolidated in June 1869 with the 5th Infantry and consolidated unit designated as the 5th Infantry—hereafter separate lineage)


Campaign participation credit

War of 1812

  1. Canada
  2. Chippewa
  3. Lundy's Lane

Mexican-American War

  1. Palo Alto
  2. Resaca de la Palma
  3. Monterey
  4. Vera Cruz
  5. Cerro Gordo
  6. Contreras
  7. Churubusco
  8. Chapultepec

American Civil War

  1. Bull Run
  2. Peninsula
  3. Manassas
  4. Antietam
  5. Fredericksburg
  6. Chancellorsville
  7. Gettysburg
  8. Appomattox
  9. Texas 1861
  10. Florida 1861
  11. Florida 1862
  12. Virginia 1863

Indian Wars

  1. Miami (Ohio 1794)
  2. Seminoles (1840–1843)
  3. The first units (1849) to occupy the Post opposite El Paso del Norte, later to be named Fort Bliss
  4. Mexico 1856
  5. New Mexico 1857
  6. New Mexico 1858
  7. New Mexico 1860
  8. Comanches (1868)
  9. Montana 1887

Spanish-American War

  1. Santiago

Philippine-American War

  1. Malolos
  2. San Isidro
  3. Luzon 1899
  4. Luzon 1900
  5. Jolo 1911

World War II

  1. American Theater, Streamer without inscription;
  2. Northern France


  1. Counteroffensive, Phase II
  2. Counteroffensive, Phase III
  3. Tet Counteroffensive
  4. Counteroffensive, Phase IV
  5. Counteroffensive, Phase V
  6. Counteroffensive, Phase VI
  7. Tet 69/Counteroffensive
  8. Summer-Fall 1969
  9. Winter-Spring 1970
  10. Sanctuary Counteroffensive
  11. Counteroffensive, Phase VII
  12. Consolidation I

Iraq War

  1. Ballad, Tikrit, Mosul (2003–2004)
  2. Mosul, Baghdad, Zarqa, Taji, Karbala (2006–2007)
  3. Muqdadiyah (Diyala Province) (2009–2010)

Operation Enduring Freedom

  1. Africa (2003–2004)
  2. Africa (2007–2008)



  1. "Special Unit Designations". United States Army Center of Military History. April 21, 2010. Archived from the original on June 9, 2010. Retrieved June 23, 2010. 
  2. Heitman, Francis B. (1903). Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army. Government Printing Office. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-8063-1402-0. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  3. The Old Guard march is available at The U.S. Army band's website.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "3d U.S. Infantry Regiment website". U.S. Army. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  5. Mahon, John. K and Romana Danysh (1972). Army Lineage Series: Infantry: Part 1: Regular Army. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History, U.S. Army. p. 11. 
  6. U.S. Army. (1999.) "Organizational History". United States Army Center of Military History, website publication, page 29. Retrieved on October 4, 2007. An American Revolutionary War unit in the 3rd US Infantry lineage was Captain John Doughty's Company of the 2nd Continental Artillery Regiment which had been attached to the 1st American Regiment (1783-1784) and then was part of the First American Regiment of 1784–1791.
  8. 8.0 8.1
  10. Deweese, Nancy (July 23, 2009). "Company C Soldiers prepare for Iraq deployment". U.S. Army. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 McKeeby, Eric M. (February 2, 2004). "'Old Guard' establishes forward base in Ethiopia". Army News Service. 
  12. McKeeby, Eric M. (July 19, 2004). "Old Guard prepares to leave Horn of Africa". Retrieved July 15, 2004. 
  13. Van Der Weide, Nancy. (April 27, 2007.) "Delta Dawgs Combat Extremism." (U.S. military website.) Old Guard News, via Retrieved on October 6, 2007.
  14. "Old Guard Unit Deploys to Iraq". WUSA9. August 25, 2009. 
  15. Holbrook, Franklin Fisk. (1923.) "Minnesota in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection." Minnesota War Records Commission, page 111. Retrieved on October 4, 2007.
  16. General Orders and Circulars. Government Printing Office. 1901. p. 29. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  17. U.S. Army. "Medal of Honor: Oscar Burkard" (U.S. military website.) Office of Medical History, Office of the Surgeon General. Retrieved on October 4, 2007.


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.

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