About the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment
The 3d U.S. Infantry, traditionally known as "The Old Guard," is the
oldest active-duty infantry unit in the Army, serving our nation since
The Old Guard is the Army's official ceremonial unit and
escort to the president, and it also provides security for Washington,
D.C., in time of national emergency or civil disturbance.
The unit received its unique name from Gen. Winfield Scott during a
victory parade at Mexico City in 1847 following its valorous performance
in the Mexican War. Fifty campaign streamers attest to the 3d
Infantry's long history of service, which spans from the Battle of
Fallen Timbers to World War II and Vietnam.
World War II, The Old Guard has served as the official Army Honor Guard
and escort to the President. In that capacity, 3d Infantry soldiers are
responsible for conducting military ceremonies at the White House, the
Pentagon, national memorials and elsewhere in the nation's capital. In
addition, soldiers of The Old Guard maintain a 24-hour vigil at the Tomb
of the Unknowns, provide military funeral escorts at Arlington National
Cemetery and participate in parades at Fort Myer and Fort Lesley J.
The black-and-tan "buff strap" worn on the
left shoulder by each member of the 3d Infantry is a replica of the
knapsack strap used by 19th-century predecessors of the unit to display
its distinctive colors and distinguish its members from other Army
units. The present buff strap continues to signify an Old Guard
soldier's pride in personal appearance and precision performance that
has marked the unit for 200 years.
A further distinction of
The Old Guard is the time-honored custom of passing in-review with fixed
bayonets at all parades. This practice, officially sanctioned by the
War Department in 1922, dates to the Mexican War in 1847 when the 3d
Infantry led a successful bayonet charge against the enemy at Cerro
Gordo. Today, this distinction is still reserved for The Old Guard