On this day 55 years ago, G.I. Joe was introduced by Hasbro toy company.
In 1999, the Hasbro International Toy Collectors Convention held its meeting in Washington, DC. The exclusive collectible that year was a two-figure set based on the Old Guard’s Continental Color Guard. Just a year later, another 12-inch figure would honor another specialty platoon of the Old Guard, when a Tomb Sentinel figure was released.
Zebulon Pike was born on January 5, 1779, near present-day Lamington, New Jersey. At the age of twenty, Pike chose to follow in his father’s footsteps and was commissioned in the Army. Pike served in the Northwest Territory, managing logistics for the scattered elements of the Army.
Much like the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Pike explored the newly acquired Louisiana Territory. Pike first led twenty men in a keelboat up the Mississippi River into present-day Minnesota in 1805, scouting for potential sites for future Army posts.
The following year Pike and nineteen others of the First Regiment of Infantry traveled west using the Arkansas and Red Rivers as their paths. It was during this expedition that the famous Pike’s Peak would be sighted and named. Pike and his party never reached the summit of Pike’s Peak, having been deterred by waist-high snow and going two days without food. The expedition was eventually captured by the Spanish after straying beyond the US border in 1807. Most of the group was escorted back to US lands, but others remained Spanish captives for years.
Pike continued to serve in the Army up the outbreak of the War of 1812, having rose to the rank of colonel. Having successfully managed greater responsibility, he was made a brigadier general in 1813. Pike and several others would be killed at the Battle of York (present-day Toronto, Canada) on April 23, 1813, when British troops blew up a munitions magazine as they withdrew from the York.
The pre-1815 1st Infantry is the unit to which the present-day 3d Infantry Regiment traces it lineage as a result of the 1815 consolidation of the U.S. Army regiments.
One hundred years ago, members of Company A, 3d Infantry Regiment were celebrating Christmas in Marfa, Texas. The Regiment had been posted along the Texas border following the Mexican Punitive Expedition.
A few regiments of regulars, among them The Old Guard, provided a disciplined backbone and cadre of men who trained citizen soldiers for warfare in Europe. Levied several times for men to fill up infantry units ordered overseas, by the end of the war and the occupation duty on the Rhine in 1921, almost every man in the Regiment in 1916 had been ordered overseas. In the Regiment at this time–and destined to rotate through and serve in Europe–were several young officers who were later to become famous: including James A. Van Fleet, later Field Commander in Korea; Henry H. Arnold, Army Air Force Chief of Staff during WWII; and Matthew B. Ridgway, Chief of Staff of the Army during the 1950’s.
On December 21, 1945, General George S. Patton died of injuries suffered during an automotive accident which occurred two weeks earlier in post-war Germany. Patton died in a hospital in Heidelberg, where a service was held. His remains were then transported to the American cemetery in Luxembourg for burial alongside many Soldiers he had commanded during the war.
In a foreshadowing of a mission years into the future, men of the 3d Infantry Regiment acted as pallbearers for Patton’s remains (identifiable by the Buff Straps worn on the left shoulder). Along with members of the Regiment, Patton’s personal orderly, Master Sergeant William G. Meeks, acted as casket bearers for the former commanding general of the Third Army.
Funeral images courtesy General George Patton Museum, Fort Knox, KY.
On December 18, 2008, the 4th Battalion of The Old Guard reactivated in a ceremony in Conmy Hall at Fort Myer, VA. The 4th Battalion had been inactive since November 30, 1971, at Fort Lewis, WA. Vietnam Veterans of the 4th Battalion participated in the ceremony and in the uncasing of the battalion colors and presentation to the new command team. During the Vietnam War, the 4th Battalion added eleven battle streamers to the Regimental color.