Skip to comments.TOG (The Old Guard) to help celebrate Kuwaiti liberation
Posted on 02/19/2011 8:32:36 AM PST by shove_it
One hundred forty Soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, will travel to Kuwait next week to take part in the countrys 20th anniversary of its liberation during the 1991 Gulf War. TOG will provide a marching company and color bearers for the Feb. 26 ceremony and parade, joined by other U.S. and international military personnel who participated in the conflict. Kuwait will also concurrently recognize the 50th year of independence from Great Britain during several days of festivities surrounding Liberation Day, although the calendar date for that anniversary doesnt actually occur until June. Kuwait was liberated from seven months of Iraqi occupation by international forces Feb. 26, 1991. That date has since become a public holiday in Kuwait.
Gen. [William G.] Webster, the [Army Central Command] commander, specifically asked for The Old Guard because we are the premiere ceremonial unit in the United States Army, said Col. David P. Anders, TOG commanding officer. [Webster] had served here previously in the National Capital Region and was familiar with what The Old Guard does. He specifically asked for us to come and represent the Army for this ceremony.
There are plenty of troops in Kuwait. Webster didnt need our 140 Old Guard Soldiers to go there to make up any shortages, Anders said. He asked for us because he wanted the Army represented to our allies there in the Middle East.
Lt. Col. Ross Coffey, deputy commanding officer of TOG, will be accompanying his Soldiers to the event.
This is the first time The Old Guard has been invited outside the country to represent the Army in this capacity, Coffey said. This is the first event of its kind.
I think its going to be a historic occasion, said Maj. James Downing, the 1st Battalion, 3rd U.S. Infantry Battalion operations officer who will be deploying with his Soldiers. Im proud to be a part of it. They [Kuwait] supported us throughout the Middle East and its kind of nice to pay them back for their support.
Downing said he was in Kuwait City in 2005 during the celebration of Liberation Day while on pre-deployment back from Iraq.
Its a city-wide celebration with spray foam and silly string and everybody dancing in the streets. I was like, Wow, this if pretty exciting. Its not what I was expecting when I first went through there. Its kind of like their 4th of July.
The majority of Soldiers in the marching company [going to Kuwait] are from our Bravo Company, Coffey said. Fourth Battalion is providing the color bearers.
Bravo Company is currently winning what we call our ceremonial testing evaluation program, said Downing, explaining how Soldiers were selected to go.
Theyve got the highest scores so far for our battalion. So we rewarded them by giving them this opportunity to represent. Its the best of our best. I think its a unique opportunity that these Soldiers will remember the rest of their lives.
Although TOG Soldiers are expecting to be gone only a week, it is still a deployment.
In terms of preparation, Downing said, Its abbreviated. We dont do a lot on the tactical side. This week were going through all the medical-, legal- and personnel-related type pre-deployment packets.
A lot of the things that we have to do are pretty similar to what we do every day here in the National Capital Region, he said.
Its the same honors that we render at state ceremonies.
We know how to march. Soldiers in Bravo Company are our best marchers, said Anders.
These guys have already gone through a very rigorous selection process to be a part of that special platoon. In addition to preparation at home, he said there would be rehearsals on the ground in Kuwait prior to the execution of the ceremony.
Downing said that because of sand and dust and exposure to fireworks, Soldiers marching in the parade will be wearing the Army combat uniform.
That is the uniform that other units participating in this ceremony will be wearing, explained Anders. The marching element and the element that will be bearing the colors of all the different corps and divisions that participated in Desert Storm will be in that uniform, so we will be in that same uniform. Itll be a black beret and ACUs. Additionally, about a dozen TOG leaders will be also be bringing along their dress blue uniform to participate in ceremonies after the parade.
This is an opportunity for us to showcase what The Old Guard does to our Soldiers in the United States Army. Our leadership comes from the field. Theyre combat veterans when they come to us, said Anders. Our brand-new Soldiers are just like any other Soldiers across the Army. We get them out of basic training. Theyre taller. They have a higher general technical score, so theyre smarter than the average bear, but our leadership is recruited from inside the Army. So the Soldiers who are deployed are a target audience, if you will, to bring in new blood, as far as leadership, inside the unit.
This is a great opportunity for us to showcase what we do to the Army at large and to recruit people into The Old Guard, he said.
When I was in this unit, the closest to oversea duty was a street parade in Philly.
He would be so proud.
I love the OG. We had them several years for our
Battle Days celebration here in WV. I have some nice video of their show.
A street parade in Philly is pretty close to hazardous duty. I was among many other draftees serving in TOG in 1962-63 and A.P. Hill was a big trip for me.
A P Hill was not a good place in the winter. Not at all.
My time with The Old Guard pre-dates your by a bit, but I concur regarding street parades in Philly and hazardous duty...
And winter FTX at “The Hill” (Camp A. P. Hill) wasn’t exactly a picnic, but it was better duty and safer than RVN...And a good bit warmer than Alaska (my prior duty station)...
The Old Guard make great ambassadors for America and the US Army wherever they go...
Compared to Ft. Leonard Wood (little Korea), Camp A.P. Hill in the winter was a picnic. But it was soldiering.
I spent some time in Ft Polk. Not cold, but by far, this side of RVN, the worst place I was ever stationed. I heard stories about Ft Lostinthewoods Mo. Camp Pendleton making it the best place ever. 39 years and still goin’.