Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Old Guard

About a year ago I began working on a long-term project focusing on the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Regiment "Old Guard." The Old Guard is based at Fort Myer in Arlington, Va. and conducts funeral missions inside Arlington National Cemetery. Whenever I had a rare morning or afternoon off I would try and get over to Fort Myer to shoot. This project hit close to home as this same unit conducted the burial service for my cousin, Pfc. David H. Sharrett in January of 2008.

oldguardfinal01
Soldiers from the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Regiment "Old Guard" gather in a parking lot on Fort Myer in Arlington, Va. before conducting funerals for fallen soldiers and veterans in Arlington National Cemetery across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. (Luke Sharrett/The New York Times)

WAS
The Old Guard Caisson Platoon is the equestrian unit assigned to Arlington National Cemetery. Headquartered on neighboring Fort Myer, the unit transports the caskets of fallen soldiers into the cemetery with two horse-pulled caisson teams. (Luke Sharrett/The New York Times)

WAS
Distinguished from other Army units by their precision and attention to detail, Old Guard soldiers wear Army "dress blue" uniforms and riding boots while performing their missions in the cemetery. (Luke Sharrett/The New York Times)

WAS
Caisson Team soldiers start their preparation at 3:30 am everyday by washing and grooming the unit's horses in their Fort Myer stables. Like the Old Guard's soldiers, the horses wear their hair short. (Luke Sharrett/The New York Times)

WAS
An Old Guard soldier prepares his dress uniform for a day of funeral duty in the cemetery. Founded in 1784, the Old Guard remains the oldest active duty infantry unit in the United States Army. (Luke Sharrett/The New York Times)

oldguardfinal06
Specialist Benjamin Nelms, a two and a half year veteran of the Old Guard, reveals a tattoo he received in honor of his uncle Kenneth D. Scott who was killed in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was after witnessing his uncle's burial in Arlington Cemetery that Nelms decided to transfer to the Old Guard. (Luke Sharrett/The New York Times)

oldguardfinal07
"It's about respect and honor for fallen comrades, fallen brothers and sisters. It's our last chance to give them the respect that they've earned." - Spec. Nelms. (Luke Sharrett/The New York Times)

WAS
Last minute inspections of the "black team's" caisson and harness are performed before rolling out for a day of funeral duty in Arlington Cemetery. (Luke Sharrett/The New York Times)

oldguardfinal09
An old guard soldier shares a light moment before the morning's somber missions in Arlington Cemetery. (Luke Sharrett/The New York Times)

WAS
The Old Guard Caisson Team carries the flag-draped casket of United States Marine Corporal Jacob H. Turbett during the funeral procession before his burial service at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Tuesday, March 9, 2010. Cpl. Turbett was killed in action on February 13 while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom on Helmand Province, Afghanistan. (Luke Sharrett/The New York Times)

WAS
The Old Guard Caisson Team escorts the casket of Army Staff Sgt. Nekl B. Allen to his burial site in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery, Thursday, October 8, 2009. (Luke Sharrett/The New York Times)

WAS
Old Guard soldiers carry the casket of Army Staff Sgt. Nekl B. Allen through Section 60. Allen was killed in combat in Wardak Province, Afghanistan on September 12, 2009 (Luke Sharrett/The New York Times)

WAS
10th Mountain Division Commander Maj. Gen. James L. Terry presents a folded American flag to Grace Allen, 5, daughter of Army Staff Sgt. Nekl B. Allen, during the burial service of her father at Arlington National Cemetery. (Luke Sharrett/The New York Times)

WAS
The Old Guard Escort Platoon stands at attention during Staff Sgt. Nekl B. Allen's burial in the cemetery. (Luke Sharrett/The New York Times)

oldguardfinal15
The Old Guard's mission statement is to "honor fallen comrades and communicate the story of the U.S. Army to our nation's citizens and the world." (Luke Sharrett/The New York Times)

 Thanks for looking.
**Photos copyright Luke Sharrett and The New York Times**

2 comments:

Patrick Fallon said...

Beautiful first image there Luke. Keep workin it.

KENT said...

i agree with pfal. awesome dude! keep hustlin!