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!”
The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.
"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.
The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.
U.S. troops rejoice — the midnight curfew for service members in South Korea has been temporarily suspended, as command evaluates if you can be trusted to not act like wild animals in the streets of Pyeongtaek.
Late last month Activision's Infinity Ward dropped a teaser trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare — a soft-reboot of one of it's most beloved games — and just two weeks after the May 30 reveal, the game developer unveiled some new details on what's in store for the first-person shooter's multiplayer: Juggernaut and ghillie suits!