Before firing, Soldiers with the Presidential Salute Battery, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), prepare M5, 75 mm antitank cannons. Photo by Sgt. Nicholas T. Holmes

The Old Guard provides ceremonial duties for joint base, ANC

As the premier ceremonial unit for the Army, the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) supports events daily. These events also include weekends at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Arlington National Cemetery, the White House, on the grounds of the U.S. Capital, the National Mall and in and around the National Capital Region — upwards of 40 ceremonies/events a month during normal times. 

Ceremonies include events for the president of the United States, official state visits by leaders from other countries, and senior leader change of commands, retirements and promotion ceremonies. Other ceremonies include special annual events such as Twilight Tattoos, the 1812 Overture concert and 4th of July, Memorial Day, Veterans Day events and funerals at Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery holds about of 30 funerals a day.

The Presidential Salute Battery conducts blank fire drills and ceremony honors using its 75 mm cannons. The Old Guard also has rifle teams who conduct the 21-gun salutes during funerals in Arlington National Cemetery and at ceremonies and special events on base. There are nine funeral teams, and the rifle teams have to train between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday — unless they are performing funerals. These teams must maintain proficiency and perfection, which means they need constant training through drills, which is required throughout the year.

The Old Guards’ ceremonial duties stopped last year due to the pandemic, but now that Virginia, Washington and Maryland are opening up, the ceremonies have begun and the drills are necessary. 

In an effort to communicate this information to the joint base neighbors, the JBM-HH Public Affairs Office will send notice to the presidents of the civic associations, that surround the joint base, of special events set to take place outside of the regular work hours on the base — 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. — where blank gun shots will be heard.

 For more information, individuals can follow the joint base’s online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter for the latest community notices, including traffic and noise alerts.