There is absolutely nothing that troops love more than standing at attention in formation — especially in the hot sun.
That’s exactly what nearly 500 service members from all five military branches will do on Tuesday when President Trump and French president Emmanuel Macron “review the troops” on the White House’s South Lawn.
To be clear, all presidents inspect troops. It is customary for the president and the visiting head of state to review the troops during such visits, Adrienne Combs, a spokeswoman for the Military District of Washington, told Task & Purpose. This is not a tradition that began with the Trump administration.
But the president has a deep affection for military pomp and circumstance, and he was reportedly deeply moved by last year’s Bastille Day military parade, which Macron had invited him to attend.
Trump is not the first U.S. president to be influenced by European military showmanship. Former President Nixon was so impressed by Spanish palace guards that he required Secret Service agents guarding the White House to wear Spanish-style military caps that looked nothing like anything U.S. troops or police officers (the headgear did not last long).
Macron and his wife Brigitte arrived Monday in Washington, D.C., for the Trump administration’s first state visit.
The Army is sending three units: two from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (“The Old Guard”), including the Presidential Salute Gun Battery; and the United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” Combs told Task & Purpose on Monday.
Also attending Tuesday’s ceremony: rhe U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard from the Washington Navy Yard; the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard from Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington; and the Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard from United States Coast Guard Telecommunication and Information Systems Command in Alexandria,
Marines from Alpha, Bravo, and Headquarters & Service companies based at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., will represent the Corps, said Capt. Colleen McFadden, a spokeswoman for the D.C.-based Marines.
American presidents are typically either Anglophiles or Francophiles, and Trump appears to have both feet clearly in the Gallic camp, just like Thomas Jefferson. On Monday, the two leaders and their families planted a tree from Belleau Wood, the site of a historic World War I battle that is important to Marine Corps Lore.
The forest was renamed “Woods of the Marine Brigade” after the 5th Marine Regiment, which cleared the woods of German troops in June 1918. According to service legends, the Marines fought so tenaciously that the Germans nicknamed them “Devil Dogs.”
For the troops who will be standing at attention in their dress uniforms on Tuesday as the leaders of the United States and France pass by in review, remember to hydrate and not to lock your knees. No one wants to be the one who falls out and hears Macron yell, “Sacré bleu!”
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