The Old Guard Association
(3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment)
July 29, 2020
Members and Friends,
Sadly, I must report that the TOGA Board of Directors voted unanimously to cancel our 2020 Reunion. It was both an easy and a very difficult decision to make. I trust you understand why but let me share some of the reasons that led to the decision.
- The health and welfare of the attendees is our highest priority.
- Review of credible COVID tracking websites at Johns Hopkins University and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation clearly forecast that infections in DC and VA will either remain at the current levels or begin trending up in advance of the reunion. Forecasting of social distancing restrictions shows the same trend.
- The Board has previously determined that current social distancing restrictions are not conducive to a successful reunion.
- We have received a strong indication from the Regiment that the wonderful support we have come to enjoy will not be possible this year due to Army and DOD COVID restrictions.
- The Association would be exposed to other potential and new expense and liability issues if we were to execute the Reunion.
The difficulty of course is that we’re very sensitive to the importance of this gathering for you. We truly hoped we could find a way. I’ve received many comments about how much people were hoping things would work out. To be honest, I wasn’t fully aware of how much it also means to our active duty brothers and sisters of the Regiment. I’ve been told time and again throughout this process that they value the relationship with you highly. I believe they will miss it too.
If you registered and paid for the reunion, keep an eye out for an email from me that will explain the refund procedure. If you made a hotel reservation, call Sheraton at 800-325-3535 to cancel your room.
Finally, know this, our reunion in 2021 will be the best yet!
Flip Godfrey, President
The Old Guard Association
(3d U.S. Infantry Regiment)
Members and Friends,
I’ve received several messages recently asking for an update on our reunion. Here’s the latest. Sadly, not much has changed since my last update on June 15th. If anything, COVID issues have gotten worse since then. The Board of Directors and the Reunion Committee continue to plan with the hope we can be together but as I told you in June, we will make the final decision in early August. I anticipate a Go/No Go decision on or before August 12th. I will let you know as soon as the Board authorizes me to do so. In addition, the Board is working on a plan re: our Annual General Meeting that takes place at the Reunion. We will have an alternative worked out for the reports and election if need be.
In the meantime, keep an eye on COVID restrictions in northern Virginia and DC. That will give you a sense of what to expect. If things ease up we’ll be ready for a Go call. Remember, there are no cancelation penalties. TOGA and the Sheraton will refund your fees if we have to cancel. Send your questions to email@example.com. Thanks again for your patience and be safe.
Flip Godfrey, President
The Old Guard Association
(3d U.S. Infantry Regiment)
May 18, 2020 – The family of Major General Donald C. Hilbert announced today the passing of General Hilbert. It is an extraordinarily sad day for the 3rd Infantry Regiment and The Old Guard Association. Don was the 62nd Regimental Commander serving in that capacity from 1977 thru 1979. He was TOGA Life Member 0061. If you attended a TOGA Reunion you were likely to see him sharing a smile and a good word. He led the TOGA element of our Pass In Review on many occasions. The TOGA contingent stood a bit taller when we marched with him.
May 2020 marks 62 years of his affiliation with The Old Guard. The General is the only officer to have served as both the Regimental Commander and the Commanding General of MDW. In 1995 he was made a Distinguished Member of the Regiment and was the first and only Honorary Colonel of the Regiment. His legacy will live on in the Regiment and TOGA forever.
Old Guard Sir!
May 14, 2020
First and foremost, I hope you and yours are well. Please continue to do your part to protect yourself, the ones you love and your fellow man during this difficult time. The TOGA Board of Directors met on May 13th to discuss how our 2020 Reunion could proceed. It is still a go but we have a number of hurdles to negotiate before a final decision can be made. We know how much you look forward to our time together and with our Regiment at Ft Myer. We will do all we can to make it happen but we have to know we can do it safely and within our financial constraints.
The Board has determined that we must have a minimum of 100 attendees registered and paid by midnight June 5th in order to proceed. In order to assist you with this important decision, the Board wants to assure you that full refunds will be made if the Reunion is cancelled.
Click here now to register https://www.oldguard.org/2020-toga-reunion/ . You can also reserve your room at the Sheraton Pentagon City when you register for the Reunion.
Please know that the Army Museum has cancelled our day trip due to construction delays brought on by the Covid19 virus. We are hopeful that will change as we get closer to the time. We are actively looking into alternatives to that trip and in conversation with both the Navy Museum and the Spy Museum. I think you’ll find both to be entertaining and informative if we’re unable to reschedule with the Army Museum.
Please register before June 5th. We can’t proceed if we don’t have 100 people signed up. Call your friends and make sure they know about the deadline too. You’re covered if we have to cancel. We’ll refund your money. Spread the word and be safe.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Flip Godfrey, President
April 18, 2020
Fellow Members, Family and Friends,
I’ve got couple of important things to pass along to you today.
Important thing first. Please click here to review a proposal to amend our By Laws. As you may know, only TOGA members can change the By Laws. We’ll discuss the proposal and hold the vote at our 2020 Annual General Meeting of TOGA. In a nutshell, this proposal opens up TOGA associate membership just slightly to include U.S. military veterans and family of Old Guard veterans.
I’m very happy to tell you that we’ve just implemented a new member benefit, a 10% discount on all TOGA merchandise in our Quartermaster store for current members of TOGA. All you need to do is go to www.oldguard.org and login. Click on the store after you login and you will automatically receive the discount on everything in the store. Check it out and pick up a couple things to show your pride in your service in our Regiment.
I hope all of you are paying attention to the Covid issues, keeping your distance and staying safe. The Board of Directors is hopeful that the concerns will subside so we can hold our reunion September 16-19. As of today, we’re still a go. Check www.oldguard.org often for updates and any changes to that plan.
Philip (Flip) Godfrey, President
To all who are wearing or have worn the Buff Strap, family and friends:
I’m honored and humbled to have been asked to lead our great Association this year. The Regiment we love has an unmatched and storied past and remains at the forefront of the Army’s image while also taking the lead on security in the national capital region. Our Association, via dedicated volunteers, is evolving, updating and rolling out new initiatives while also planning and delivering our Annual Reunion. I have to admit, the scope of all this is a bit daunting. I’m grateful to our immediate past-President, Marty Cassidy, his predecessors and all who have served on our Board of Directors over the years for their vision and for making it possible for us to successfully execute against all these things.
Start planning for our 2019 Annual Reunion now! You can find everything you need to know about it here on our website. The fun begins on Wednesday September 25th. The format will be similar to what you’ve come to know in the recent past. Day Trip Coordinator, Mike Holub, continues to impress with an experience at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. The 760,000-square-foot facility holds numerous exhibits, including the Space Shuttle Discovery, a Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird”, a Concorde, and the Enola Gay. We only have 55 seats available on this Thursday tour so sign up early! I’m excited and pleased to tell you that the guest speaker at our gala banquet on Saturday night will be Lieutenant General (retired) Roger Schultz. LTG Schultz served on active duty for over 42years. The resume of his service is impressive. He is currently serving as President of the Army Historical Foundation and will give what I know will be an informative and exciting update on the construction of the new Army Museum at Ft. Belvoir. The construction of this long overdue initiative is well underway. It will be something that we can all be proud of. Again, you can find a more detailed schedule of events under the Reunion tab. I hope to see you all then and encourage you to invite an old Army pal to join you this year.
My guess is that the Reunion is what comes to mind when you think about TOGA. I want to take this opportunity to give you an abbreviated list of other things the Board of Directors has been working on. These are in various stages of discussion and listed in no particular order except the first one which you will recognize as our absolute primary mission.
- Support of TOG active duty Soldiers and their families.
- Launching a golf tournament fundraiser benefitting TOGA.
- Website update and launch.
- Developing/expanding TOGA fund raising capability.
- Recruiting new members.
- Expanding member benefits.
I’ve mentioned our website a few times. I hope you like the new look and new navigation. Bear with us. I apologize that it’s taken longer than we had hoped but the changes will make it easier for you to find the things you want and easier for us to communicate with you. For example, you will be able to find a more detailed Reunion Schedule including things like the President’s Reception, the wreath laying, lunch with the troops and the Ladies Tea. Importantly, you will also find a new link where you can donate to TOGA(not quite ready yet). As I’ve said, supporting the TOG active duty Soldiers is our first priority. Every little bit helps. Please consider a donation in whatever amount you are comfortable with. All the funds we raise via our various initiatives are used to support the troops. Please consider being a part of that.
I would be remiss if I did not thank our regimental leadership for all they do to support TOGA. COL James Tuite and CSM Edwin Brooks are, no surprise, doing an outstanding job. I know you all are aware of the immense responsibility they have. It is not only to ensure that day to day missions are executed flawlessly or that special missions are accommodated but they must also ensure that the traditions we all value are maintained. Please thank them when you have the opportunity.
Your Board of Directors and I are all volunteers. We’re supported by volunteer “staff” and volunteer “action officers” all of whom give their advice, time and effort to make things happen at TOGA. I’m very grateful to all of them and for the role they play in our success. We’re all looking forward to seeing you at the Reunion in September. Remember, bring someone new with you this year!
Philip “Flip” Godfrey, President
The Department of the Army and COL James Tuite, Commander, 3D United States Infantry – The Old
Guard have announced that Sergeant Major (retired) Gavin L. McIlvenna has been selected as a
Distinguished Member of the Regiment.
SGM McIlvenna was nominated for this prestigious and rare award by The Old Guard Association (TOGA)
an alumni group of men and women who have previously served in the Regiment. The rigorous review
process was conducted by a Board of Officers of the Regiment chaired by COL Tuite. Review Board
representative MAJ Danielle Cork, Regimental S1, stated that SGM McIlvenna’s nomination identified
him “as an exemplary role model who embodies our adherence to the tenants of honor, commitment
and excellence in all things.
Philip H. Godfrey, President of TOGA said, “The Old Guard Association could not be more proud to have
nominated SGM McIlvenna for this honor. His love for his Regiment and his ongoing commitment in
support of its very special mission have positively affected both the unit and hundreds of veterans who
served there. On behalf of all the members of TOGA, I offer my most sincere congratulations.”
SGM McIlvenna retired from the Army in 2012 after 20 years of service. He was deployed overseas
twice. Among his many awards and citations are The Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, two Meritorious
Service Medals, seven Army Commendation Medals, ten Army Achievement Medals, the Air Force
Achievement Medal, and three Army Reserve Component Achievement Medals. A decorated combat
veteran, he is the recipient of both the Combat and Expert Infantryman badges. He was awarded the
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier identification badge number 457.
His Old Guard service began in 1997 in Company E – Honor Guard as a Squad Leader of a marching
platoon. After 3 months he went to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where he served until January of
1999, initially as the First Relief Commander and later as the Assistant Sergeant of the Guard. He
finished his Old Guard Duty in October of 1999 as a Squad Leader in the Continental Color Guard.
Importantly, recognizing the significance of the Tomb, and the brotherhood of all who have served as
Tomb Guards, SGM McIlvenna teamed with another former Tomb Guard to locate and reunite for the
first time all those who served as Tomb Guards. His dedication to that task was instrumental in the
capture of the all but lost knowledge and history of both the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the
names and locations of those who served as Tomb Guards.
He, along with three other former Tomb Guards, formed the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the
Unknown Soldier (the Society). The Society is dedicated to preserving and proclaiming the principles and
higher purpose of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, reminding Americans of their sacred duty to never
forget those who have served and sacrificed on behalf of our nation. Throughout the remainder of SGM
McIlvenna’s military career and subsequent civilian career, he has continued to serve the Society, his
fellow Tomb Guards, and the nation in various leadership capacities. Today he is the President of the