JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. – As the world continues to react to the COVID-19 pandemic, Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), continue to conduct military funeral honors in Arlington National Cemetery, April 16.
“The vital tasks that are continuing to be performed during this unprecedented time, have been limited to rendering honors to our nation’s fallen service members in Arlington National Cemetery,” said Capt. Daniel Osborn, company commander of Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).
The command has acted to safeguard the Soldiers as well as the community while conducting military funeral honors with dignity and respect, Osborn continued. Most notably are the face covers worn by the Soldiers.
“The mask that we are currently wearing while conducting ceremonies are referred to as face covers,” said Osborn. “We wanted to make sure we complied with the [Center for Disease Control] recommendations, while also continuing to honor our fallen brothers and sisters.”
The face covers were developed and made by civilians at the Central Issue Facility on Joint Base Myer - Henderson Hall. These individuals are responsible for tailoring and issuing the ceremonial uniforms for all of the Soldiers in the unit.
“They are a matted black that matches our uniforms well and allow us to continue to render honors impeccably,” said Osborn. “We are taking this pandemic and our Soldiers’ health seriously.”
The face covers are welcomed by the Soldiers and are in accordance with the ceremonial standards of The Old Guard.
“The [face covers] are a great move to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Sgt. Brandon K. Poland, a casket team leader with Delta Company. “They go well with our uniforms and do not take any dignity away from the ceremony.”
Due to recommendations to practice social distancing, the number of funeral attendees have decreased, said Osborn.
“Whether there are one-hundred people attending or one person attending, it doesn’t change our commitment to honoring these service members with the dignity and respect they deserve,” said Osborn.
Even in time of difficulty, the company is committed to fulfilling this honorable duty.
“We want the world to know even in the face of a pandemic like this we remain ready and willing to carry out this sacred duty,” said Osborn.
“It is an honor to lay service members to their final resting place,” said Poland. “Even with everything going on, we still hold ourselves to the same Old Guard standard that the world expects of us.”