Conmy born – March 12, 1919

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Colonel Joseph B. Conmy, Jr. served as commander of the 1st Battalion, 3d Infantry Regiment from 1964-1968. Today marks what would have been Conmy’s 99th birthday.
Conmy was born at Fort Snelling, MN, the son of an Army officer. His father, Joseph Sr., was a company commander in the 3d Infantry Regiment. He grew up on Army posts in the U.S., the Philippines, and Hawaii. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1943. Conmy joined the 44th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis and deployed with them to Europe in August 1944. As a company commander in the 114th Infantry Regiment, he was wounded after a month of combat. Returning to his unit, he became S-3 of the 1st Battalion, 114th Infantry Division. By the end of the war, he was awarded two Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
Between wars, Conmy moved to Hawaii for a three-year tour with the ROTC. The 1949–50 Advanced Course led to orders for the 7th Infantry Division, which he joined as they left for Korea. His actions in Korea earned him a Silver Star, three additional Bronze Stars for valor, the Air Medal, a second Purple Heart, and a second Combat Infantryman Badge. Following the Korean War, he graduated from the Command and General Staff School and Army War College. From 1956-59, he served at NATO Headquarters in Paris. In 1960, Conmy was stationed in Washington, DC as an intelligence officer.
In 1964, he took command of 1st Battalion, 3d Infantry Regiment at Fort Myer. Conmy took command when The Old Guard was evolving as a ceremonial unit. Conmy felt the soldiers should be combat ready as well. During this time, he was a military aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson, and he traveled extensively with the President. He commanded the battalion until 1968.
In 1968, Conmy took command of the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. In May of that year, he led the brigade in the battle of Hamburger Hill in the Ashau Valley, one of the major battles of the war. After several days of desperate fighting, they took the hill. A week later, the brigade repulsed a night assault in which he was wounded. His final time in combat brought him his third Purple Heart, his third Combat Infantry Badge and three more medals for valor. He returned to the U.S. in 1969, where he handled assignment for colonels for three years and served a year as liaison to the Inaugural Committee.
He retired from the Army in 1973, with thirty years of service. In retirement, he served as an adviser for the films “Hamburger Hill,” and “Gardens of Stone.” In 1988, Conmy was selected as honorary Colonel of the 3d Infantry in 1988.
As soldiers previously under his command laid hundreds of veterans to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, his unit laid their former Commander to rest in 1994. At the time, Conmy was one of only 230 Army soldiers to have awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge in three wars. On May 31, 1995, the former Fort Myer North Post gymnasium was named for Joseph B. Conmy, Jr.

#PhotoFriday, Uncategorized

Photo Friday – MDW Ceremonial Detachment

1947-08-29-Ceremonial Detachment

It is already time for another Photo Friday!

Pictured is the Military District of Washington’s Ceremonial Detachment at Fort Myer, VA in August 1947. The Ceremonial Detachment was activated July 23, 1942, in response to the departure of the 3d Cavalry in February 1942 for wartime duty.

The Ceremonial Detachment handled provided “details for all military funerals, the permanent guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and such other ceremonies as were ordered…In an average year in the period covered by this history, the Detachment performed duties at approximately twelve hundred burials, thirty ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and over fifty cannon salutes and eight hundred rifle salutes were fired.” — “The Military District of Washington: In the War Years: 1942-1945”

The Ceremonial Detachment accomplished all of this with an authorized strength of just 146 men. These men formed the nucleus of the re-activated 3d Infantry Regiment in 1948.

President's Day, Uncategorized, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor

President’s Day

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For Presidents Day, we celebrate two of our own.

William Henry Harrison

Harrison served in the 1st Infantry from 1791-98 as an ensign at Fort Washington (near present-day Cincinnati). He was commended for his actions during an attack on the fort. Harrison moved up to Lieutenant and Captain, later commanding Fort Washington when commander died. Harrison resigned his commission in 1798.

Harrison served as governor of the Indiana Territory (1801-12). He represented Ohio in the House of Representatives (1816-19) and in the Senate (1825-28). Harrison served as 9th U.S. President in 1841.

Zachary Taylor

Taylor was a major in the 3rd Infantry Regiment in 1816 and was the second-highest ranking officer in the Regiment. He served concurrently as commander of Fort Howard (present-day Green Bay, WI). While serving with the 3d Infantry Regiment, Taylor oversaw the completion of Fort Howard and traveled to Louisville, KY to set-up recruiting stations. Taylor was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in April 1819 and commanded the 8th Infantry.

Taylor stayed in the Army fighting in the multitude of campaigns that made up the Indian Wars. By 1846, he rose to the rank of general and commanded the Army of Observation. The Army of Observation was sent as a show of force along the US-Mexican border. His successful campaign against the Mexican Army catapulted him to national recognition and into the White House. Taylor was the 12th U.S. President from 1849-50.

Harrison and Taylor were the first and second Presidents to die while serving in office. Harrison died a month into his term. Harrison came down with pneumonia. The sickness could have been a result of his two-hour inaugural speech in the cold March rain. Taylor served sixteen months of his term before falling victim to a stomach ailment that killed him.

1899, Gibraltar, Philippine Insurrection, Uncategorized, USAT Sherman

The Old Guard at Gibraltar – 15-17 February 1899


The US Army Transport Sherman is docked at the coaling station at Gibraltar, Spain from February 15-17, 1899. The USAT Sherman departed New York City two weeks earlier carrying the men of the 3d Infantry Regiment for duty in the Philippine Islands. As the coal is being replenished, news reaches them that hostilities have broken out in Manila. and they are instructed to proceed without delay. They get under way the next day, headed to their next coaling stop in Port Said, Egypt.

Alabama, Cuba, Fort Snelling, Havana, Minnesota, Mobile, Uncategorized, USS Maine

Remember the Maine! – February 15, 2018

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On February 15, 1898, the U.S.S. Maine was docked in Havana Bay, Cuba. It was to serve as an American presence during the Cuban War for Independence. Later that night, an explosion rocked the ship, killing 266 members of the crew. The explosion, still not solved to this day, launched the United States into the War with Spain. Many believed the Spanish were behind the explosion. It resulted in a declaration of war against Spain on April 25.

The War with Spain sent American troops to the Spanish territories of Cuba, the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico. Soldiers of the Old Guard departed Ft. Snelling, MN by train and arrived in Mobile, AL en route to Cuba by Army transport ships. In July 1898, the Regiment played a significant part in the Santiago Campaign, enduring tropical heat in woolen uniforms while storming a fortified blockhouse at El Caney that controlled a part of the city’s water supply, followed by three days of more or less continuous shelling in trenches before the city until a ceasefire was signed. The war lasted only ten weeks, with a signed peace agreement in August 1898.

Several years later, Congress made arrangements to raise the Maine and inter the remaining dead at Arlington National Cemetery. The memorial, which also serves as the final resting place for 165 members of the crew, incorporated the recovered main mast of the Maine. In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson was on hand to dedicate the U.S.S. Maine Mast and Memorial. Currently, the mast and memorial is undergoing restoration to its 1915 appearance.

First Regiment of Infantry, Virginia, William Henry Harrison

Birth of William Henry Harrison – February 9, 1773

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William Henry Harrison is one of two Old Guard veterans to become President of the United States. Harrison was born on February 9, 1773, in what today is Charles City, VA.

Harrison served in the Army at multiple times in his life. He first joined the Army at the age of 18, just after his father died in 1791. He served in the First Infantry, a forerunner of the 3d Infantry Regiment. He was able to secure a commission as an ensign, a rank today that would equate to a third lieutenant. As an ensign, he was in charge of about 80 men that he enlisted to serve on the Northwest Frontier. He rose to Aide-de-Camp for General “Mad Anthony” Wayne and then to Captain. Wayne mentioned Harrison by name for bravery at the Battle of Maumee Rapids, in 1794. General Wayne died in 1795, and Harrison took command of Fort Washington (present-day Cincinnati, OH). While serving at Fort Washington, Harrison met his future wife, and would resign his commission in 1798.

Between 1798 and 1812, Harrison was appointed secretary of the Northwest Territory, elected as a congressional delegate on behalf of the Territory, and appointed Governor of the newly created Indiana Territory. As governor, he waged a war against a confederation of Native American tribes led by the Shawnee chief, Tecumseh. The war resulted from Harrison using fraudulent means to negotiate treaties with Miami tribes.

The outbreak of the War of 1812 saw Harrison appointed as a Brigadier General. He resigned again after winning victories and seeing his command split. The split found Harrison commanding an area of no strategic importance, and he resigned in 1814. Harrison would serve in numerous public and private roles until 1836, when he ran unsuccessfully for President.

Another campaign, in 1840, was successful. He ran with the slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler, too!” Tippecanoe was one his most decisive battle against Tecumseh. Tyler was his vice-presidential running mate. Harrison won, invoking his experience in the military and his “man of the people” roots.

Harrison was the shortest serving President in American history. Shortly after taking office, Harrison caught a cold that progressed into pneumonia. Many at the time attributed his illness to a long inaugural speech, over 2 hours, and the cold, damp weather. His term as President of the United States lasted only one month.