Death of Patton – December 21, 1945

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 3rd 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.

Inactivation –

On November 20, 1946, the 3rd Infantry Regiment inactivated at Berlin, Germany. The Regiment and its antecedents had been active since 1784, marking 162 years of continuous service. Caught up in the post-World War II draw down, the Regiment was part of the dwindling German occupation forces. The Old Guard arrived in Berlin the previous April to relieve units under the 78th Infantry Division. At the time of inactivation, the Old Guard was serving under the 23rd Corps. The Old Guard would re-activate 16 months later on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, beginning its service as the Army’s Official Ceremonial Unit and Escort to the President.