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UNITED STATES
07.21.2016
Courtesy Story
U.S. Army Garrison Fort Lee
Source: www.army.mil

FORT LEE, Va. (July 21, 2016) -- The solemn spectacle of sentries guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a surprise encounter with the Sergeant Major of the Army made a recent weekend trip to the Washington D.C. area memorable for troops of Juliet Company, 262nd Quartermaster Battalion.

“It started out with some reluctance and ended as a day the J Co. Jaguars won’t forget for a long time to come,” said 1st. Sgt. Anthony Rausch, the unit’s first sergeant. The “before” attitude was mixed, he noted, with some questioning why other units got to enjoy amusement parks and other recreational activities over the long weekend.

“We explained the intent … to show them there’s more to the July 4 holiday than beach trips, barbecues and fireworks,” Rausch said. “By wearing the Army uniform, they are serving a cause much greater than themselves. They should be proud of their lineage and what it means to have the respect of the American public.”

Driving those points home is easy in the nation’s capital – or more specifically Fort Myer (known these days as Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall), home to Arlington National Cemetery, the 1st Infantry Division’s Old Guard and the Army’s highest ranking noncommissioned officer who lives in post housing at the fort. Their access to the installation was facilitated by Garrison Command Sergeant Major Randall Woods, who progressed through the ranks as a 27-Delta paralegal specialist; the same training now being undertaken by J. Co. advanced individual training Soldiers.

The first stop of the tour was the Old Guard’s caisson barn; the boarding and training area for the horses involved in burial ceremonies at Arlington and other high-visibility events like inauguration parades and the like.

“It’s a prime example of taking pride in what they represent to our country,” Rausch said. “The caisson troops are the epitome of hard work, discipline and dedication because that’s what it takes to keep those animals ready for any mission.”

The next encounter was not part of the planned itinerary. While en-route to the dining facility the troops walked past historic, stately homes occupied by senior commanders and a “rock star” of the enlisted ranks, SMA Daniel A. Dailey.

“He was just heading out of his quarters in civilian clothes and CSM Woods asked him if he would like to say hello to the visiting troops,” Rausch said. “Of course, he jumped at the chance; that’s who he is. He came over, shook a lot of hands and talked about the significance of military service and how the job our Soldiers will soon be doing is so important to the Army. After that, the motivation of our troops was off the chart.”

Meeting a leader of the SMA’s stature is a “once in lifetime opportunity” in most Soldier’s careers, added Command Sgt. Maj. Tim Lebouf, 262nd QM Bn. CSM.

“You walk away with a new sense of pride and inspiration,” he said. Not too many Soldiers get that opportunity.”

The final stop of the day was Arlington National Cemetery, which brought out a sense of discipline and reverence from the Soldiers, according to Rausch. While exploring the sacred grounds, the Jaguars witnessed the impressive ritual of the changing of the guard at the famous tomb.

“The respect, military bearing and focus of the Old Guard sentinels further inspired the junior Soldiers,” he said. “Every box on the day’s objective list had been checked. Our Soldiers walked away with a better sense of what wearing the uniform really means. I think they will be better for it. That was to goal from the beginning.”