ARLINGTON, Va. (9/26/2011) - Every time Capt. Justin
Anderson receives the call, he wonders if this time he's
bringing one of his own friends home to rest.
member of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard),
Anderson, executive officer, 1st Battalion, is among a
brotherhood of soldiers that participate in the dignified
transfer of remains of service members whom die overseas in
“The first thing that comes to mind is do I
know this person,” said Anderson. “I have quite a few
friends who are deployed to combat zones.”
Air Force Col. David E. Pollmiller (left), commander, Operations Group 436th Airlift Wing, and Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum (right), director, Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, render honors to the remains of Sgt. 1st Class Daniel R. Adams, 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), during a dignified transfer conducted by the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) soldiers
on Sept. 15, 2011 at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Megan Garcia
Sometimes carry teams may or may not receive names, but
knowing who he's escorting home never matters to Anderson as
his thoughts are always with them.
By Army Staff Sgt. Megan Garcia
“I try to think
about what happened to that person and I really appreciate
what they've given for all of us,” said Anderson.
Old Guard soldiers can never give back what those they
accompany have given, soldiers take this solemn duty
seriously. They often stay at the Dover Air Force Base, DE
terminal around the clock while awaiting dignified
transfers; some which arrive as early as 4 a.m. It's a small
sacrifice soldiers said does not compare.
“For me to
sacrifice those hours compared to what they've sacrificed is
nothing,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Rogers, a Charlie Company
For Rogers, participating in this
special welcome home offers closure to some of his own
personal experiences in combat.
“I've known people
personally who were killed in action in Afghanistan, but to
come back and do this closes the loop on what happens to
them. I get to see this part of their journey home,” said
Unfortunately for carry teams, sometimes
transfers aren't just for one soldier. The recent deadly
crash of a Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan brought 30
fallen warriors home to Dover. Despite the vast amount of
families and prominent government officials present,
including the President of the United States, Old Guard
soldiers carried out the same level of professionalism.
“We wanted to make sure we did it right, from every step
to every movement, even the small things such as not letting
the handles on the transfer case make noise when we let them
down,” said Hotel Company 1st Sgt. Scott Thomas.
It's this level of honor for fallen soldiers and their
families that speak volumes of the service of The Old Guard.
“I am constantly and consistently impressed with the Old
Guard soldiers. It's important to receive our fallen
comrades with dignity and respect whether they are on a
stretcher or deceased, and each time I see the soldiers do
it, they are perfect. They make what is obviously a hard
time on families a homecoming that families can be proud
of,” said Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum, director, Comprehensive
The Old Guard is the only Army unit
to conduct dignified transfers of every Army soldier killed
in action in support of overseas contingency operations.
3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment “The Old Guard”
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