News: Old Guard soldiers brave Hurricane Sandy, render honors, ensure others' safety
Story by Staff Sgt. Megan Garcia
ARLINGTON, Va. - As Hurricane Sandy threatened the eastern United States, Oct. 29, soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) pushed on to honor our nation’s veterans and ensure the safety of others.
“It’s a no-fail mission,” said Staff Sgt. Sean McAlpine, casket team noncommissioned officer in charge, Delta Company, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). “We don’t stop for weather. We put the mission before anything else.”
McAlpine was among a small team of Delta Company soldiers who continued to conduct military funerals in Arlington National Cemetery, Va., despite the worsening weather conditions.
“This could be one of us one day and we would want the same respect and honors,” said Staff Sgt. Waddell, casket team leader, Delta Company. “In light of whatever we may face, we are still going to get out there and do it.”
Waddell added he was proud of the motivation the Soldiers showed even as the rain and wind picked up to 30 mph.
While Delta Company ensured one mission was carried out, Sgt. Justin Wilson, infantryman, Bravo Company, joined soldiers gathered on the other side of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall [JBM-HH], Va. to fulfill another.
Wilson was a part of a group of soldiers filling sandbags to act as levees should the nearby rivers rise above their banks.
“The sandbags were going to line the base of Fort McNair because it is so close to the water,” said Wilson.
Fort Lesley J. McNair, just five miles away from JBM-HH, sits on a peninsula that lies at the meeting point of the Potomac and the Anacostia Rivers in Washington. Aware that the residents of this post were at risk for flooding, Wilson said he didn’t think twice about getting the sandbags prepared.
“I know there aren’t as many soldiers on Fort McNair, so it was important we got this done for the safety of the people living there,” said Wilson.
Pfc. Randall Mooney was also glad to assist in the effort.
“It’s what we signed up to do,” said Mooney, infantryman, Bravo Company. “It’s part of our job to go out there and help people.”