Major general james jackson saw the smoke rising from the pentagon and rushed to the scene. He called colonel laufenberg with simple guidance: send your medical assets down to the pentagon. The old guard’s medical platoon, with its military ambulances on modified humvees, were the regiments first soldiers to arrive at the pentagon and thus some of the first uniformed personnel on a battlefield of the new war back at fort myer. The threat of more attacks locked down the base aside from soldiers conducting funerals the regiment secured the base and prepared for the unexpected perimeter gates were shut and armed guards were posted at key facilities. It was an all hands on deck operation, even the fife and drum corps which usually performs in the 1779 continental musician uniform stored, its fifes and drums that day put on combat fatigues and drew kevlar helmets and gas masks to guard the regimental headquarters. Lauren panfili a new flautist understated matters when she said the day that they issue gas masks to the fife and drum corps is not a good sign, but everyone had to pitch in at the chaotic crash site. The word used by both general jackson and colonel laufenberg fires raged the walking wounded, received aid from volunteers and first responders rushed in in need of a coherent structure organization, manpower, general jackson recalled the obvious thing.

Was the old guard? I get young physically fit troops. I get a chain of command and i get a commander who i know i can grab right away and make it happen.

By late afternoon, colonel laufenberg had three companies on site for crowd, control and to support civilian first responders. Another company went on patrol in the cemetery to help the park police remove visitors who were watching the events unfold across the street while there, these soldiers also discovered the airplane parts that the crash had blasted into the cemetery for the next month. The old guard never left the pentagon, colonel laufenberg, estimated that, in addition to funeral duties in the cemetery and security for fort myer, he kept three to four hundred soldiers on site at all times. Twenty four hours a day. Far from an anomaly, though, this deployment to the first front line of the war on terror continued an old guard tradition, stretching back more than two centuries soon enough. The old guard would return solely to funerals and ceremonies, but for now they walked in their ancestors footsteps. Most americans who visit arlington national cemetery do not know about the old guards long and distinguished history on the battlefield, or that it remains an infantry regiment. With the training standards of other active duty infantry units. They do not see soldiers, loading combat gear for the drive to training ranges at fort ap hill 90 miles to the south. They observe instead, the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier watch, the horse drawn caisson roll along arlington’s avenues or catch a glimpse of soldiers marching in a funeral.

These funerals and ceremonies are indeed the old guard’s primary missions, as they have been since 1948, yet the regiment’s lineage runs back three times longer in american history.

Indeed, the old guard is older than our constitution. For more than a century and a half, the old guard fought our nation’s battles from the frontier to the civil war from mexico to the philippines. The old guard is literally the old guard. The oldest active duty, infantry regiment in the army old guard soldiers live this history every day their uniforms bear distinctive insignia, such as the 18th century, buff strap to commemorate the regiment’s origins and some soldiers wear a colonial uniform for ceremonies. The soldiers march with bayonets fixed a privilege reserved only to the old guard to honor the regiment’s bravery in the mexican war and the regimental colors bear 55 campaign streamers to celebrate the old guard’s history of battlefield valor. While these echoes of the past may not be apparent to outsiders, old guard soldiers cannot help but soak in their rich history and hold themselves to the exacting standards of their forerunners, the professionalism, the precision and the striving toward perfection for which the old guard is so Well known have their roots not only in the history and solemnity of arlington, but also in the regiment’s own, distinguished history. That story begins with the old guard’s colonial roots and its early defense of our young republic origins.