With a heritage tracing back to the early days of our nation, the Continental Color Guard is a 3d Infantry tradition.
Regimental records show that the color sergeants and the drum major of the 3d Infantry Band wore Revolutionary War-style uniforms at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, in 1922. A contemporary description stated that the purpose of the unit was ‘to recall to the mind of every member of the 3d Infantry the long and honorable history of the regiment … from
a period which followed closely upon the Revolutionary War.
The Continental Color Guard Team serves the same function today. The five-man unit is comprised of two armed guards and three color ensigns, who carry the national color, the U.S. Army Color, and the color of their parent unit, the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). The team carries the national color in the place of honor on the right, the United States Army flag directly to its left, and the 3d U.S. Infantry Regimental colors on the far left. The armed guards flank the colors on either side and are responsible for protecting the honor of “The Star Spangled Banner.” The U.S. Army Color bears 172 campaign streamers, representing every campaign in which the Army has participated. The 3d U.S. Infantry Regimental Color bears 55 campaign streamers, earned by the unit’s participation in major conflicts, the Meritorious Unit Citation and two Superior Unit Awards.
The uniforms worn by the Color Team are replicas of the 1784-style infantry uniforms worn by The Old Guard’s predecessor, the First American Regiment. The pattern of the uniform for wear by all infantry units of the Continental Army was approved by Gen. George Washington in 1782. It consisted of a blue coat faced with a red collar, cuffs and lapels, white buttons and lining, long-fitting overalls, and a black cocked hat with cockade.
The Continental Color Guard displays the colors in numerous parades and ceremonies throughout the year. The team has performed in such notable events as presidential inaugurals, the Olympics, and the Super Bowl.