Photography by John Michael

"Preserving the memories so others will remember"™

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"Why We Guard The Tomb…"

I’ve been reading a book on The Old Guard’s history and reached an essay written by COL Neale Cosby US Army (Ret.) and it filled me with emotions. I thought it important enough to transcribe it and share it with the world, since it provides an insight that we all can appreciate…

Why We Guard The Tomb
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Posted 9 years ago at 12:49 am.


Senator Cotton Speaks to the Society of the Honor Guard

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Tom Cotton It was COL Neale Crosby who wrote some very touching words about “Why We Guard the Tomb” Recently Senator Tom Cotton shared the following words with the Sentinels who have and are guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns:

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Posted 1 year, 3 months ago at 2:37 pm.

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Photography by John Michael announces a "FIRST for the 3d"!

In a groundbreaking milestone and what is believed to be the “Inaugural” calendar, John Michael – a professional photographer & military historian – has created and published “The Old Guard on Parade – 2009” about US Army’s 3d Infantry Regiment – The OLD GUARD – the most historic and the oldest infantry regiment in the United States military.

Since 2000, John Michael has continually photographed this elite regiment while they executed their ceremonial missions. It was earlier this year while doing research on a book that he’s writing about a specialty platoon within the regiment that he concluded the need for this calendar. In speaking with men who had served in the 1950’s – the 1960s – 1970s and to-date, none could recall that there was a calendar produced about the entire regiment.

John Michael poured over the thousands of photographs he had available and thought the theme of “The Old Guard on Parade” would be an appropriate one for 2009 in light of the upcoming Presidential Inauguration. The Old Guard will play a key role on Inauguration Day ushering in the new President, Barack Obama.

The Old Guard on Parade

The Old Guard On Parade

With a textual history included, the Calendar’s photographs feature the many specialty units within the Regiment including:

    • The Presidential Salute Battery,
    • The Caisson Platoon,
    • US Army Drill Team,
    • Commander in Chief’s Guard,
    • The Fife and Drum Corps,
  • The Continental Color Guard.

“It has been an honor to be able to photograph these fine troops and the work they do.” said John Michael “I’ve been blessed to observe and capture in photographs much of the work these soldiers do as part of their daily schedule. They are truly the finest and Americans should be proud to have such an outstanding treasure in the US Army.”

The US Army 3d Infantry Regiment, “The Old Guard” has its origins dating back to 1784 when the United States was evolving from the colonies to a sovereign country. This US Army elite regiment (Escort to the President) has a dual responsibility of both the defense of the United States Capital area and the ceremonial missions it carries out.

These include Presidential Inaugurations, White House arrivals, State Funerals, the final honors support at Arlington National Cemetery – and only military unit who has continuously guarded the Tomb of the Unknowns, and More.

When John Michael previewed the calendar to a noted Washington DC-based military historian, the response was “John Michael is an athlete with a natural talent for photography who over the years has honed and fine-tuned his skills through experience. This calendar is another of his creative works packaged for the world to enjoy and appreciate.”

The calendar comes in three versions –

    • “THE STANDARD with EXTRAS” and the

All of the Calendars feature 12 months of photos from John Michael. The second version provides a brief history of the 3d Infantry Regiment and each of the specialty units featured in the calendar. The PREMIUM version of the calendar is a larger format and contains more descriptive information about the OLD GUARD.

John Michael will also offer the “PREMIUM COLLECTORS EDITION” – a limited “autographed” quantity of 250 which will be numbered.

The first version is available directly on line for purchase, the latter versions are available directly from Photography by John Michael.

When John Michael is asked why he’s devoted nearly the last ten years immersed in capturing, recording and presenting the work of the US military with a focus on the US Army, his reply is that he’s been given an on-going mission of “Preserving the memories so others will remember…” ™

John Michael continues his ongoing tradition of “giving back” – Proceeds from the sale of all the calendar’s versions will be donated to the 3d Infantry Regiment’s OLD GUARD LADIES ASSOCIATION to assist in their support of the active duty troops within the Regiment.

ABOUT John Michael – He resides in Alexandria, VA with many decades of photography experience. Since 2000 he has photographed the final honors at Arlington National Cemetery. photographed reunions of the Special Forces Association (Fayetteville, NC) the OSS Society (Arlington, VA), The Old Guard Association (TOGA). His creative talents have also resulted in an ever-growing assortment of military heraldry note cards, Christmas cards and greeting cards featuring scenes of Arlington National Cemetery. His book on the “Big Guns of the Old Guard” will be published in Spring of 2009.


Posted 9 years, 2 months ago at 6:03 am.

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3 Wonders of Arlington National Cemetery…

Find A Grave -  Contains a growing number who's buried at Arlington National Cemetery

I’m a regular contributor / volunteer for a website called FIND A GRAVE that has the largest collection of memorials to those who have passed on. My focus on Arlington National Cemetery has been augmented by participating in this activity.

I was on a mission today to capture a few of the photos of gravestones as requested by friends, family or interested parties. It was the end of the mission day when I arrived at ANC after trying to meet with a local card shop who originally had expressed interest in carrying a selection of my greeting cards / notecards. I was attempting to show off the new calendars that are being developed. But I digress.

Even after all these years of traversing the hallowed grounds of the United States’ shrine to it’s military heroes, I still need to get an orientation at times when I’m heading into a Section of Arlington National Cemetery that I rarely frequent. My first direction was to head to Section 3, a very familiar place since that’s where I spend time with the Presidential Salute Battery when they execute their missions. When I saw one of the caisson teams slowly making their way back through the cemetery to the stables on Fort Myer, I decided “to roll” along with them. The soldiers looked a bit tired, since their day began by showing up at 4:00 AM at the stables to go through their preparation for their four-plus missions that they probably participated in during the day. (They spend their entire day in the cemetery…)

I clicked off a few photos as I followed them up through the McClellan Gate (one of the original entrances to Arlington National Cemetery) as they reached the intersection, the team and the section sergeant turned left towards the Tomb of the Unknowns…

Caisson in Arlington National Cemetery

The warm autumn sun, shone brightly this day as the sunbeams broke their way through the overhead trees. One of the last final honors of the day was still in progress as I headed along the road in front of the Tomb of the Unknowns. I had the pleasure of spending a bit of time with one of the ANC security guards as I waited for the ceremony to conclude.

Signs of the change of season were evident and the harbinger trees were already turning their fiery colors. I headed up the road that borders Section 3 and the Tomb of the Unknown and the sun dancing among the crimson leaves of a maple caught my eye.

Porter Drive  in Arlington National Cemetery

Porter Drive in Arlington National Cemetery

After my Section 3 work was complete, I traversed to the opposite side of the cemetery and headed to Section 30 (The original layout of Arlington National  Cemetery followed no rhyme or reason as they assigned the numbers to the sections. Some layout within the sections are completely confusing to me also!)

When I reached Section 30, I decided to “take the walk” and paid my respects to MG G.M. Barnes, the visionary who’s forward thinking has led to many of the things we take for granted today. I’ve called the man “The Father of Modern Computers“, since he was instrumental in funding the ENIAC – the first computer (Pennsylvania University claims its theirs, but without the funding from the US Army, they would have had NADA!) General Barnes was the head of research and development within Ordnance of the US Army during WW II. Another distinction is that he is the “Father of the M5 Guns” – the artillery that the Presidential Salute Battery uses to fire salutes to the President, Heads of State/Countries, and salutes for wreath layings and final honors of Flag officers of the US Army, US Coast Guard, US Navy and US Marines.

The 3d wonder that I absorbed as I headed to the last photo of the day was a rare blooming of crocuses (they normally bloom in the Spring!) in front of a US Army’s CWO’s resting place.

Fall Blooming Crocus  in Arlington National Cemetery


Why don’t you explore more of my work in the Gallery?  It has many more photographs of Arlington National Cemetery and a whole lot more, such as the US Army’s Golden Knights – the Parachute Team which are the Army’s “Ambassadors from the Sky” … the flowered beauty from Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and other explorations.


Posted 9 years, 4 months ago at 6:57 pm.

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Clouds of Melancholy…

For the past several days I’ve had a big black cloud hovering over me and I couldn’t figure out why… I finally figured out why – 9 / 11

It was 7 years ago that morning I had an early meeting in Georgetown and on the way home passed by the Pentagon before the plane hit. I was home when the second plane hit the twin towers and watched the horrid event on the TV. It was just a while later that the combination of the sound and shaking from the Pentagon hit rushed down I395 and rattled the very building that I was in.

There was little connection over the years until the summer of 2007, when a friend of mine’s mother visited and we toured Arlington National Cemetery. She had a keen interest in the 9/11 Pentagon memorial. We headed there after our visit to the Tomb of the Unknowns to watch the changing of the guard (The OLD GUARD – 3d Infantry Regiment of the US ARMY does such a outstanding job!) Among those who were laid to rest in that area (Section 64)

Among them are 64 of the 184 people killed when American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon. Most of them (50) lie together, near the simple granite marker bearing all 184 names. (The others are in various locations throughout the cemetery.) The Pentagon itself can be discerned through nearby trees. Inside the Pentagon chapel shine new stained glass windows made by survivors of the attack. When I toured the Pentagon with TOGA (The Old Guard Association) in 2006, it was a very unusual feeling when we entered the chapel area. To me it seemed like those who perished there were still among us. May they rest in peace…

“The heroes that sleep in these hills” will always be remembered.


Posted 9 years, 5 months ago at 11:01 am.

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