After WW I, Fort Myer was where the famed 3d Cavalry - Brave Rifles - were stationed until they relinquished their horses in 1942 and headed to Georgia to become mechanized. When this film was made, COL George S Patton Jr. was commander of Fort Myer and the 3d Cavalry.
Thanks to my extensive network, a video clip which was made in 1934 surfaced of these troopers exercising their mounts with sabers drawn on the drill field on Fort Myer. This joins the other three items that I've found that were filmed on Post:
the 1909 flight of the Wright Flyer with Orville Wright & LT Frank Lahm
the 1934 Movie "Keep 'Em Rolling" that introduced the Caisson Song
the 1957 segment of The Big Picture with TUSAB* & TOG** on Summerall Field
For your viewing pleasure, I present below to you the Brave Rifles on Fort Myer performing one of the last saber drills (one can see the "Three Sisters" in the background as the troopers head down the drill field)
You can learn more about the "Brave Rifles" and the historic Fort Myer where they were posted in the book "Images of America - Fort Myer"
*TUSAB = The US Army Band
**TOG = The Old Guard - 3d INFANTRY Regiment
Reactions Are Important - Chief Ones Are VERY Important!
A creative work whether it be a photo, a painting, a sculpture or in this case a book -hangs in the balance of whether someone likes it or not. Getting a chief response, is unexpected! Each time it's put out there, there is a resulting response of like or not like.
When I began the work to produce what has now become the FIRST book ever about Fort Myer, I wanted it to be the best. After many months of extensive research, field trips to libraries, history offices, The Library of Congress, the National Archives in College Park, MD and more, the pile of "stuff" appeared intimidating. How to mold it into something that people would read. AND like. I had learned that it was more than a US Army Post that was named after General Albert J Myer. More than the home of the US Army Band (TUSAB) - "Pershing's Own" more than the home of the 3d Infantry Regiment - "The Old Guard" It was history that needed to be chronicled and told to the public.
The Beginnings were a Challenge
Along the way, my best friend from high school, who was career US Army, was my sounding board. He didn't see the "stuff" but was given ongoing "sit-reps" that often began "Did you know what I found yesterday?" After which he patiently listened as my latest find was being held up to the phone - he couldn't see it, but my words and excitement conveyed the import. The cover photo was long ago chosen and set, the back of the book proclaimed the work that I'd done for over a dozen years that prepped me for this event. I was fortunate to find a striking image of the 15th Cavalry - the same unit that George S Patton, Jr was initially attached to and brought him to Fort Myer for the first time in 1912. He competed in the Stockholm Olympics.
When the book finally released on 13 JUN 2011, my friend promptly purchased two copies, one for himself, the other for his son who was currently serving in the US Army, attached to the 10th Cavalry - one of the original "Buffalo Soldiers" regiments. It was several weeks before I heard from him. He normally calls early in the evening. This time it was later than usual.
He began the call by saying "I read your book and..."
I waited for the reaction.
He went on: "I expected it to be good. But no, it's not good, it's great. Over the months while you were gathering and composing, sifting and sorting, and finalizing, I concluded that you were doing your darnedest to make a good book. Well you ultimately set the bar high with this. And not only did you set the bar high, you jumped OVER the bar. Congratulations!"
FOUND A NOTE WORTHY ITEM
One of the nuggets in the book is a note from President Abraham Lincoln which opened up doors to the Whipple family (It's amazing what one family's role has been in the foundation and building of the United States of America!) Finding that first note (there's a second one that I'm still casually looking to locate) was a result of "God sitting on my shoulder..." Since it was not where it was supposed to be.
"...loves me like a rock...."
One of my special forces brothers - He's actually "the second older brother I never had." - invited me to exhibit and participate in the bi-annual conference of The Rocks, Inc., a great association. It provides mentoring to active duty and retired military, primarily the US Army. The conference was held at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. One of the the guest speakers for the conference was the current Chief of Staff of the US Army GEN Raymond T Odierno. It was after his fantastic speech that I awarded him a copy of "images of America - Fort Myer" (He lives there in " Quarters One" Home to the Chief of Staff since 1906, when MG J Franklin Bell first occupied what was supposed to be the quarters of the post commander. It was built in 1899. It's historic too, since 1973, it's been on the National Historic Register)
The General thanked me for the surprise gift and was on his way to his next event / meeting / encounter. I didn't think much more about it. At least he got a copy of it.
Surprise from The Chief
I went to my post office box and there among the mail was a monarch sized envelope neatly addressed to me with the return address that showed it was from the Pentagon - the Office of the Chief of Staff -
I opened it immediately. Wanting to know just what was written inside. I beamed with joy when I read his words -How he liked the book and about My work at Arlington National Cemetery. And he's awaiting my next book too!
DATELINE - Charlottesville Virginia: "Images of America - Fort Myer" has been selected as one of the books to be featured at this annual March 2012 event. From a field of nearly 1,000 books submitted, it was selected.
Author John Michael will be onsite to present and discuss his ground-breaking first book about this unique US Army Post with origins during the US Civil War as part of the Defenses of Washington, when it was named Fort Whipple
Fort Whipple was built in JUNE 1863 on Arlington Heights, Virginia within the acreage that was the Custis-Lee estate. It was in honor of General Amiel Weeks Whipple who was the commander of the Defenses of Washington's southern fortifications, who used Arlington House as his headquarters.
The Post was later renamed Fort Myer to eliminate the confusion with the other Fort Whipple located in Arizona and to honor General Albert J. Myer, the US Army's first Signal Officer who located the US Army's Signal Corps School on the acres.
Home to the US Army's two elite units: The US Army Band - "Pershing's Own" and "The Old Guard - 3d Infantry Regiment of the US Army, Fort Myer continues to provide defense of Washington DC - the Capital of the United States of America.
More information about the event and times and locations within Charlottesville is at Virginia Festival of the Book 2012
"AI-EE-YAH!” the Regimental Battle Cry of the Brave Rifles announced their arrival...
It was 1919, World War I was over and those who went "Over there..." began to return home to the United States. The 3d Cavalry Regiment came home to Boston with Headquarters and 1st Squadrons moving onto Fort Ethan Allen in Vermont.
Fort Myer would then receive 3d Squadron, but it would be re-designated 2d Squadron when the 3d Squadron was deactivated. Over the next two plus decades, the troopers of 2d Squadron would defend the nation's capital and also be called upon to provide ceremonial support - honor guards and escorts for visiting dignitaries, final honors support within Arlington National Cemetery which earned them the title of the "President's Own" for their service.
Escort to First Unknown Soldier
In 1921 when the first unknown was laid to rest within Arlington National Cemetery near the amphitheater, the "Brave Rifles" provided the ceremonial escort. It was the regimental bugler, Staff Sergeant Frank Witchey, who would sound TAPS at the ceremony. Sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were provided by the 3d Cavalry until 1941.
Display of Skills and Talents
Over the years while at Fort Myer, the troopers of the "Brave Rifles" would delight and entertain the residents of Washington DC with their excellent horsemanship skills and talents during horseshows, polo matches and the Society Circus. The latter is an event that has evolved into today's Spirit of America hosted by the US Army and executed by the US Army's 3d Infantry Regiment - "The Old Guard" and The US Army Band - "Pershing's Own" within the Washington DC area and several US cities.
The "Brave Rifles" would ultimately relinquish their horses and leave Fort Myer in February 1942. They would head to Georgia - Fort Ogelthorpe first then onto Fort Benning to get mechanized in preparation to deploy during World War II.
"Images of America - Fort Myer" which is based on over two years of research, contains over 200 historical photographs that presents the first one hundred years of this US Army Post with origins during the US Civil War when it was known as Fort Whipple.
The date 06 APRIL is a significant milestone in Fort Myer history, for it was on that day in 1948 that one of the most historic and oldest infantry regiments within the US Army would be re-activated after World War II and call this historic US Army Post home. The regiment, like many after World War II, was inactivated, however there was a major need for a unit to provide for the defense of the National Capital of Washington DC while also providing ceremonial support. Military District of Washington did have a cermonial company to provide for ceremonial company that did ceremonies. So when the US Army's 3d Infantry Regiment was reactivated, they were included within the regiment.
The 3d Infanry of the US Army, also known as The Old Guard, a name given to them by General Winfield Scott can trace its beginnings to the United States revolution with the date of its origination of JUNE 1784. From the start, the regiment has served and fought valiantly to protect and defend the United States.
Since its beginnings, the 3d has fought in
War of 1812
American Civil War
World War II
So it was 06 APR 1948 when the US Army 3d Infantry Regiment was reactivated on the steps of the US Capitol and then took up home at Fort Myer. Known also as "The Escort to the President" - The Old Guard is the primaryunit within Presidential Inaugurations and state funerals.
The video below, courtesy of the US Army, provides an historic look back in time to about 1955. Accompanied by the US Army Band - "Pershing's Own", it shows the dual mission which the Old Guard continues until today.
Within Arlington National Cemetery, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded day and night all year round by Sentinels who are carefully selected and trained as Tomb Guards from this regiment. Over the years, the regiment has added several distinguished specialty platoons / companies to address the ceremonial needs of the Military District of Washington and the US Army. These include:
Known as "Pershing's Own" - The US Army Band was organized at Fort Hunt, Virginia on 25 JAN 1922 as The Army Band and later moved to the District of Columbia's oldest military installation Fort Lesley J McNair (The fort began as arsenal in the 1790s with defenses built in 1794). Fort McNair is also the third oldest US Army post - only West Point and Carlisle Barracks are older.
When the 3d Cavalry, which had been at Fort Myer from after WW I until the beginnings of WW II moved from Fort Myer, their "mounted band" went with the regiment. There was a need for ceremonial support within Arlington National Cemetery and the US Army Band was called upon to provide it.
Ceremonial Band Needed at Arlington National Cemetery
Initially, musicians were transported to and from Fort Myer from Fort McNair and eventually a "funeral band' was organized on Fort Myer as an extension of the US Army Band. It was during WW II - June 1943, the band at Fort McNair was deployed to both North Africa and Europe. Upon its return from the War, Fort Myer became its home ever since. For its efforts while deployed, it received a campaign streamer.
Among the over 200 historic photographs within the book "Images of America - Fort Myer" the US Army Band is presented among other units, people, and events which helped to mold Fort Myer into the active duty US Army Post it has become... Home of "Pershing's Own" and "The Old Guard"
It sits on Arlington Heights overlooking Washington DC and has seen its share of firsts since 1863 when it was first built as Fort Whipple. It was among the 70 fortifications surrounding the National Capital during the US Civil War, but unlike the rest which fell into disrepair and were abandoned, Fort Myer continues until this day (though they've hidden the name slightly - it'll always be Fort Myer because of its significance and contributions.)
Some of the early firsts that this US Army Post holds are:
Over time, the significance of Fort Myer has grown. With its elite troops - the 3d Infantry of the US Army - "The Old Guard" and the musical talent of the US Army Band "Pershing's Own - within, it continues to stand ready to defend the Nation's Capital while providing an outstanding place to receive and honor visiting dignitaries.
Over Two Years In Research
The book "Images of America - Fort Myer" highlights these and others in a combination of historical photographs, maps, and notes with revealing captions. The outstanding nugget is a first-time published note from Abraham Lincoln which no one knew existed. Browse through the website and learn of some of the history - the people, the events, the places and enjoy.
Images of America - Fort Myer is a pictorial chronicle of the first one hundred years of history containing over two hundred photographs, maps, and images. Beginning in the 1860s and carrying through the 1960s it provides a view of what was over time. An autographed copy of the book can be purchased at BUY THE BOOK.
When most people hear the name Fort Myer, they don't think Virginia, but a place much further south in the United States.
The other location is an attractive place for tourism and nearby beaches with palm trees on the Gulf of Mexico. This other location WAS an US Army Fort built in 1850 as a military fort in response to Seminole Indians that were in conflict with the area's few settlers.
So the confusion continues... perhaps once people begin reading the book "Images of America - Fort Myer"they'll get a better understanding that Fort Myer is in Virginia (first named Fort Whipple during the US Civil War) and is home to the US Army Band - "Pershing's Own", the US Army's 3d Infantry Regiment - "The Old Guard". The fort is located right next to Arlington National Cemetery. It was named after General Albert J. Myer, the US Army's first Signal Officer, the inventor of the wig-wag signaling method (the insignia of the US Army Signal Corps are a pair of crossed Wig-Wag Flags), who also started the National Weather Service.
Today, Fort Myer, Virginia with over a century of service to the United States of America is as an outstanding US Army Post, defending the Nation's Capital - Washington, DC with origins during the US Civil War. Many more events and people who were stationed there have had major influences on the United States and the world.
Please sign up for more- info, history and announcements ... see the form on this page. You can also buy the book, "Images of America - Fort Myer"