Arrival in Cuba – June 22, 1898


On June 22, 1898, soldiers of the 3d Infantry Regiment arrived in Santiago Harbor, Cuba.

 The Regiment started their journey when they departed Fort Snelling, MN by train on April 19. They arrived in Mobile, AL two days later having traveled over 1,400 miles. The Regiment trained in Mobile for six weeks, until it was transferred to Tampa, FL on June 13. Upon reaching Tampa, it was assigned to General Shafter’s force en route to Cuba. Once ashore in Cuba, the Regiment is placed in Brigadier General Bates’ Independent Brigade, and placed in reserve at El Pozo, the Headquarters of the US Army Fifth Corps. By July 1, the Regiment is placed into action as part of the Siege of Santiago.

"Gardens of Stone" – May 8, 1987


On May 8, 1987, the movie “Gardens of Stone” premiered in theaters. The film traces the story of Specialist Jackie Willow (played by D.B. Sweeney), fresh out of basic training, adjusting to his role in the 1st Battalion, 3d Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). The film was directed by Oscar-winning director Francis Ford Coppola, best known for “The Godfather” trilogy.
The movie is based on the novel of the same name written by Nicholas Proffitt. Proffitt drew from his first-hand experience, as he was in Company D of the Old Guard in the early 1960s. Proffitt became a war reporter for Newsweek, covering the Vietnam War. He later covered Beirut, before returning to cover the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. He would see his first novel, Gardens of Stone, published in 1983. Mr. Proffitt passed away in November 2006.
The all-star cast also featured James Caan, James Earl Jones, Anjelica Huston, Dean Stockwell, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Laurence Fishburne. Portions of the movie were filmed at Fort Myer and inside various buildings on post. Mr. Sweeney was the guest speaker at the 2012 Old Guard Association Reunion.

Twilight Tattoo

The annual series of programs known today as “Twilight Tattoo” ran by the name “Torchlight Tattoo” from 1961-1983. The name has changed once, but show locations shifted many times since 1961. In the past, shows have taken place near the Washington Monument, utilizing the Sylvan Theater, the Ellipse, the Jefferson Memorial and at The White House at the request of the President. In recent years, the Fort Myer and Fort McNair portions of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall hosted the Wednesday night summer tradition. In the early Sylvan Theater performances, actual torches were used as lighting during the performances and hence the origin of the name.

This brochure produced for the 1973 Torchlight Tattoo season was part of the ramp-up for 1976 Bicentennial events, as a large increase in visitors were expected to visit the national capital region.

This year the Twilight Tattoo 2017 season kicks off May 3, on Summerall Field on the Fort Myer portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.

High-quality versions can be viewed here:

Conmy born – March 12, 1919

Colonel Joseph B. Conmy, Jr. served as commander of the 1st Battalion, 3d Infantry Regiment from 1963-1968. Today marks what would have been Conmy’s 98th 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.

Aboard the USAT Sherman – February 2, 1899

On February 2, 1899, the soldiers of the 3d Infantry Regiment boarded the US Army Transport “Sherman” in New York City. They were en route to the Philippine Islands. They were to be support units deployed in putting down the Philippine Insurrection. Colonel John H. Page, who led the Regiment in Cuba the previous year, led it again to war.

The Philippine Insurrection was a direct outcome of the War with Spain. The United States controlled Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines after the quick victory against Spain in 1898. Many Filipinos believed their nation would be independent following the War with Spain. The United States had no intention of granting independence.

Once aboard the Sherman, the soldiers of the 3d Infantry steamed across the Atlantic Ocean. The Sherman stopped at coaling stations at Gibraltar, Spain (February 15-17); Port Said, Egypt (February 24); Colombo, Sri Lanka (March 9); Singapore (March 16). The Regiment arrived in Manila Harbor on March 22, 1899, around 1:30 PM. Over the course of 48 days, the Old Guard traveled over 16,000 miles. There was only one casualty on the voyage: Chief Musician Edward Matter died March 11.

The next day the Regiment disembarked from the Sherman and set up camp in the Luneta, a local park. Two days later, four companies of 2d Battalion moved to support the 22d US Infantry and the 2d Oregon Volunteers. Together they charged enemy trenches. The Old Guard stayed in the Philippines over three years, departing Manila on April 18, 1902.
See a collection of 31 photos of the voyage and the Philippines here: