Col. Tuite relinquishes command of The Old Guard to Col. Roddy
On Tuesday, Col. James J. Tuite IV relinquished command of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) to Col. Patrick M. Roddy Jr. in Conmy Hall on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
The change of command ceremony is a timed-honored tradition and represents our armed forces it symbolizes the transfer of total responsibility, authority and accountability from one commander to another.
Maj. Gen. Omar J. Jones IV, the commanding general of Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region/the U.S. Army Military District of Washington and host of the change of command ceremony, said that he wished that everybody could be there in person but that couldn’t happen because the Army, nation and world are encountering some unique times.
“But they are also special times, special times for The Old Guard, special for these two amazing Families — the Tuites and the Roddys,” said Jones. “The Old Guard is an amazing team known across the country and around the world. Older than the Constitution itself, the formation represents every Soldier who has ever worn the cloth of our nation past and present.
“‘The formation at Fort Myer should represent the Army and should connect the American people to the American Army,’ and that’s exactly what this regiment has done since World War II.”
It’s not one action, one ceremony that defines their greatness, but it’s their enduring commitment to excellence over generations that still carried today by the leaders and the Soldiers on the floor. The Old Guard represents the appreciation of a grateful nation.
“We bury our comrades and their Families on the hollowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery,” he said. “The Old Guard represents the silent reverence of The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with their unbroken vigil continues today. The Old Guard delivers time and again countless ceremonies and countless events where the standard is perfection representing our Army and the nation to the world.
“America’s Army is there when American needs us and The Old Guard has always been there when our nation’s capital needs us. The Old Guard represents all that is good about the United States Army, all that is good about the United States Military and all that is good about the American people.”
Jones added that fortunately, today he had the true privilege of welcoming Roddy as the 83rd regimental commander of The Old Guard. He pointed out that Roddy has a phenomenal history with the Army. He comes from some of the Army’s most recognized units the 82nd Airborne Division, the 2nd Infantry Division, the 25th Infantry Division and the 2nd Cavalry Division.
“Pat has combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan and served as observer, controller, trainer at our National Training Center,” Jones said. “He has supported strategic leaders as the aide to the vice chief of staff to our Army and most recently, as the executive officer to the director of Joint Operations to the Joint Staff. Pat and I served together at Fort Lewis, (Washington), and Mosul, Iraq.”
Jones said Tuesday also meant saying goodbye to the Tuites, but he said Roddy isn’t going far. He added that in the past two years Tuite as the 82nd regimental commander, he was truly inspirational.
“Jim is one of the most selfless, professional, disciplined and empathic leaders I have had the honor of serving with,” he said. “Jim demonstrates true commitment, commitment to our team and joint and interagency partners across the National Capital Region, commitment to being a selfless teammate across this command and across this headquarters and most importantly, complete commitment to this formation and each and every Soldier here. Jim is humble, he puts the team first and he always puts his Soldiers first.
“Jim is going just down the hill, which is where every colonel wants to go after brigade command. He’s going to work in the Pentagon. He’s going to be in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment there he will learn, and I have absolutely no doubt, shape how the Army and our military sets conditions to the future of these great institutions. The Army is people, and we always put our people first. I’m excited for this next opportunity for Jim because that’s what Jim does. He always puts his people first, and that is how Jim has approached his service. And that’s what he’s going to take as he helps the team that is designing our Army our military for whatever our nation needs down the road.”
Tuite thanked former JTF/MDW Commanding General Maj. Gen. Michael Howard and Jones for serving as his commanding generals and true examples of outstanding leadership. Both have been caring and decisive leaders for setting the direction of MDW and trusting mentors and willing to allow them to grow into command.
Tuite added that the team has accomplished a lot over the last two years more than he could have dreamt when he came into command. However, perform they did as they always have done as they will continue to do long after he leaves.
He wanted to zero in on what he believed is the essence of what makes this regiment so special and so appealing to this community. It’s what drives the team and calls to its alumni long after they have departed the ranks.
“On the floor before you stands America’s Regiment, the men and women who make up these ranks present the very best of our Army they come from all corners of the nation,” Tuite said. “Each one was drawn here by their own unique path to be sure that diversity adds … strength to the unit like the outer bands of a cable, but it is the inner core of our guiding principles of honor, commitment and excellence that truly bind this team together and produces their consistent, collective success no matter where they are called.
“These are the principles that become imprinted on every Soldier who serves here and marks them so deeply they remain affiliated with this unit life. Too many, the first principle of honor is very much about respect and privilege and these emotions are certainly true but there is also another side to honor a side of obligation. This side requires diligent duty to perfect the acts that will ultimately display and render honors. It is on this side of honors where The Old Guard spends the majority of its time working on their duties, refining their craft and building a team to succeed together. No one is more important than another and no duty is insignificant than the collective output. Everyone counts here, every Soldier feels it they feel their responsibility too.”
Roddy said this wasn’t the first time he followed Tuite into a position. This transition is like the last. Marked by his professionalism, his perspective and above all, his commitment to the Soldiers and the mission.
Roddy pointed out that his first memories in life were of The Old Guard. As a 4-year-old child, living in Quarters 21A, he recalled standing each morning with his nose pressed against the glass door and watched The Old Guard Caisson role on the distinctive clack of the horses’ hooves striking the pavement The Old Guard Soldiers riding upright their postilion position those images etched in his memory. Thirty-six years later, on a warm June morning, the Caisson moved Tuite again as Old Guard Soldiers laid his father to rest in Section 55 of Arlington National Cemetery.
“It was a different century and a different generation of Soldier (and) the professionalism, precision and commitment to excellence remained exactly the same,” explained Roddy. “Decade after decade, generation after generation, The Old Guard represents the best of our Army. A complete commitment mastering the mission to see it … it strikes at the heart what it means to volunteer to wear this uniform.
“This is why our Army trusts and empowers these Soldiers more than any other to connect the American people with their Army. Honoring our fallen, bearing the standard of our traditions and communicating the values of our profession to the American people and the world. The Old Guard is the heart of our Army. As a Soldier and a citizen, it is my honor to serve among you."
This story originally ran in the Pentagram on June 11, 2020.