The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, long known as “The Old Guard,” is the oldest active-duty infantry unit in the Army, having served since 1784. The regiment got its nickname from General Winfield Scott during a victory parade in Mexico City in 1847, in recognition of its years of service to the nation. The 3rd Infantry’s long history of service spans conflicts from the Battle of Fallen Timbers to World War II and Vietnam. Since World War II, the Old Guard has served as the official Army Honor Guard and escort to the president. It also provides security to Washington, D.C. in times of national emergency or civil disturbance. Old Guard soldiers are responsible for conducting military ceremonies at the White House, the Pentagon, at national memorials, and elsewhere in the capital. Soldiers of the Old Guard maintain a 24-hour vigil at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, conduct military funerals and provide funeral escorts at Arlington National Cemetery, and participate in military parades. The Old Guard’s mission includes transferring the remains of fallen soldiers flown to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Each Memorial Day, soldiers of the Old Guard place flags at the graves in Arlington National Cemetery. Names associated with the Old Guard include Generals Winfield Scott, Robert E. Lee, U.S. Grant, and John “Black Jack” Pershing. The Old Guard is the only unit in the Army authorized to march with bayonets fixed to their rifles, in honor of their bravery at the Battle of Cerro Gordo, Mexico.
From Jauflione Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution