Departing Camp Perry – September 26, 1921

On September 26, 1921, the 3d Infantry Regiment set out for its new assigned post, Fort Snelling, MN. Due to the post-World War I cuts in defense, there was no funding for transportation. The Regiment set out on a 938-mile road march to comply with its orders.

The Regiment had already been on the move that year. At the start of 1921, the Old Guard was stationed at Camp Sherman, OH, having left Camp Eagle Pass, TX the previous year. In August 1921, orders came down from the War Department. The Old Guard was to march from Camp Sherman to Camp Perry, OH (173 miles). At Camp Perry, the Regiment, along with the 2d Infantry Regiment, helped run the annual National Rifle Match. On August 24, the day after their arrival at Camp Perry, regimental command passed from Colonel Paul Giddings to Colonel Alfred Bjornstad.

Once the rifle matches were completed on September 25, the 2d and 3d Infantry Regiments started their march to Fort Sheridan. Once at Fort Sheridan, the Regiment stayed four days to rest and resupply. The Perry-Sheridan leg of the march would be 308 miles, taking the regiments 19 days to cover (including two rest days). From Fort Sheridan, the 3d was to march on to Fort Snelling, where they would spend the next twenty years and earn the nickname, Minnesota’s Own.

The Fort Sheridan-Fort Snelling leg of the march will be covered in a future post.

Fennesy Memorial Trophy

1951 Fennesy Memorial Trophy Presentation

Awarding of Fennesy Memorial Trophy, 1957

Fennesy Trophy winners, Company D, 1st Bn (Reinf), 20 September 1963 
(1SG Richardson, SPC Neisten, PFC Calhoun and SPC Saccomen)

Illustration of Fennesy Trophy from the Christmas 1914 Menu from Company H, 3rd Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) while the company was stationed Madison Barracks, NY.

Guest Post by Pete McDermott, Historian of The Old Guard Association

When I was assigned to The Old Guard in 1960, the Battle Group Headquarters building also served as the museum and the repository for trophies awarded for sports competitions and military skills. 

One such trophy was the Fennesy Memorial Trophy which was awarded annually to the 3d Infantry company attaining the highest score in annual range firing. The trophy is named for Corporal Michael Fennesy, Company M, 3d Infantry, who was killed in a range accident at the International Rifle Matches, Camp Perry, Ohio, in 1913. CPL Fennesy was serving as a scorer in the pits when a shot fired by a member of the Swiss competition team struck the metal marker and ricocheted downward striking CPL Fennesy and killing him. All members of the competition teams contributed one dollar each to commission the trophy and presented it to the 3d Infantry to be awarded to the company attaining the highest score in annual range firing. The first winner was Company H in 1914 followed by the Regimental Machine Gun Company in 1915. The trophy was awarded annually until the start of World War II and reinstated in 1948 after the Regiment’s reactivation. The last time the trophy was awarded was 1978 to B Company and then it went missing until 1991 when it was found in B Company’s attic. The trophy was then turned over to The Old Guard Museum and it is currently stored with the other 3d Infantry artifacts at the Center of Military History’s Museum Support Branch at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

Images courtesy of Old Guard Museum

National Rifle Matches – August 22 – September 26, 1921

On August 22, 1921, the Old Guard arrived at Camp Perry, OH to conduct the annual National Rifle Matches. Earlier that summer, while stationed at Camp Sherman, OH, the Old Guard received orders to transfer to Fort Snelling, MN. Due to post-war Army funding cutbacks, the Regiment had to march to Snelling, with a side trip to Camp Perry. The total march was 971 miles.