By Sgt. Nicholas T. HolmesJuly 18, 2018
JOINT BASE MYER - HENDERSON HALL, Virginia -- On a blistering morning, Col. Jason T. Garkey, outgoing commander, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, (The Old Guard), relinquished command to Col. James J. Tuite, during a ceremony on Summerall Field, July 17.
"Standing in front of you are some of the finest Soldiers you will ever meet," Garkey said, as he addressed the audience. "Members of The Old Guard and "Pershing's Own" serve as the embodiment of our Army and they truly are magnificent. What they do each day, in any weather, maintains the crucial link between the American people and our Army."
Garkey, the 81st commander of the historic regiment, assumed command on June 16, 2016.
The unit is the face of the Army. Across the regiment, on a daily basis members conduct memorial affairs in honor of fallen service members and demonstrate ceremonial perfection in special events to communicate the Army's story to the Nation and the world. All while maintaining readiness to provide defense support of civil authorities in the National Capital Region.
Under Garkey's command the regiment has participated in thousands of events and high profile ceremonies, such as the 57th Presidential Inauguration and Twilight Tattoo.
This was Garkey's third assignment with the regiment. Prior to serving as the regimental commander, he served as platoon leader with Charlie Company and later as commander of Honor Guard Company in the 90s.
Garkey, a Eureka, Illinois native, graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1993. He has been deployed to Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Garkey has earned numerous awards and decoration for his service to the country, to include the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, and nine Meritorious Service Medals, among many others.
"It is bittersweet to depart here," Garkey said. "I have spent a quarter of my career in this regiment. What constantly amazes me is how it keeps getting better. The Old Guard has truly taken me further then I could have ever taken myself."
Garkey recognized the character of the leaders and Soldiers of the regiment. He thanked them for their professionalism and constant efforts to exceed the standards during his time in command.
"Over the last two years, the members of this regiment have planted seeds that will be reaped for decades," Garkey said. "They love this country and value service and know what it means to be part of a high preforming team."
During the ceremony, Command Sgt. Maj. Scott Beeson, the outgoing regimental command sergeant major, transferred responsibility to Command Sgt. Maj. Edwin T. Brooks.
Beeson assumed responsibility of the regiment on March 17, 2016 and served as the senior enlisted advisor during Garkey's time in command.
The success of this command team was recognized by the host of the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Michael Howard, commanding general, Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington.
"It is hard to adequately recognize and thank the command team of Col. Garkey and Command Sgt. Maj. Beeson in a short speech, because they have just done so much," Howard said. "[The Old Guard] operates at a standard of perfection, and they meet it every time. This level of performance doesn't come free, it requires leadership."
The command team's influence on others is sure to be everlasting, according to Howard.
"Most impressing to me is the sense of pride and esprit de corps these two leaders both demonstrate and instill in others," Howard said. "To me this is their true enduring contribution to the regiment."
In closing, Garkey, the husband and father of two, thanked his family for their continued support.
Despite the heat more than 500 Soldiers, friends, family and colleagues attended the ceremony.
Command Sgt. Maj. Phillip Peguese, a recent arrival to the district, took in the ceremony and reported that he was blown away by the display on the field.
"I'm not from here, so this was amazing," Peguese said. "It is awesome and I have so much respect for what they do, and how they do it, rain or shine, to standard."
Likewise, Heidi Robbins and Kate O'Neil, friends and Arlington locals, attended to see The Old Guard in action.
"I love it, I get goose bumps every time I see these ceremonial units," Robbins said. "We are a retired Army family, it is great to come back and see these ceremonies and feel that comradery again," O'Neil added.