Legacy Members support the Platoon

1 month ago

On June 4th, 2022, members of the Tomb Guard Platoon and their families were invited to the inaugural BBQ hosted by the Society and the legacy family of COL Neale Cosby (1958-60).

The Society Vice President sets up games after raising and lowering the flag at the Cosby House.

At dawn a new US Flag was raised at the house and lowered to half-staff to honor COL Cosby. With Vice President Scott Sengenberger (2000-03) leading the delegation from the Society, Tomb Guards and Associate Members joined the Cosby family to bring in 6 members of the platoon and their families to the Belmont Bay river house.

When COL Cosby passed, he hoped that the house on Belmont Bay would be used for Society business and social gatherings. Dorthy Cosby and former Society President Gavin McIlvenna (1997-98) talked about how to utilize the generous offer of the family to convene a reception at the house to increase interaction between the Society and the Tomb Guard Platoon.

“As the spouse of a Founder of SHGTUS, through the years I observed Neale’s and others’ dedication to the mission of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Neale carried this assignment experience deep in his heart. He was always proud to share with others and watch over the continuing service displayed every day. I am proud to continue this connection in his honor and sharing time with former and current Tomb Guards in our home setting with his spirit gave me a piece of his experience.” - Dorthy “Dot” Cosby

11 Tomb Guards from different eras ranging from 1963 to 2022 came together with their families on a warm sunny afternoon to interact, relax, and build upon the bonds of camaraderie. The food for the BBQ was provided by the Society, and Society members provided the elbow grease getting the house ready and setting out activities for everyone to enjoy.

With key competitions going on in the garage at the ping pong table (yes…..the rumor that Basso crushed the hopes and dreams of a 7-year old did happen), and outside on the corn hole boards (it was very ‘spirited’ and the videos are not rated PG) the ‘adults” were kept busy, while the families engaged and enjoyed the afternoon.

The Society Vice President and a former Sergeant of the Guard talk while the food cooks.

““Thank you” fails to say how deeply I appreciated your (Cosby Family) gracious opening of your home to the Tomb Guard. There were so many moments recalling Neale it is difficult to put my finger any one aspect of the day. I must admit that the first few hours were very difficult for me – many memories with Neale and the many times we were there together. After a while as I picked up the rhythm of the gathering, I began to sense Neale’s presence and I remembered how much he loved the Tomb Guard and our mission. I would frequently step aside during our visits with Tomb Guard and watch him as he would engage them and work his magic. I think I saw a lot of that happening Sat. As the day progressed that became even more evident and It felt good. I saw what Neale always aimed for: bonding and building relationships to do something good. I saw that happening and I was glad to be there.” - Richard Azzaro (1963-65)

“We had a great time and I wish we'd do things like that more often. Especially incorporating family into things as well” - Sergeant Trevor Drahem (2018-Current)

“I loved the setting. Great to spread out with various groups chatting at different times with different people. I also liked when we all got together to talk about why we were there. Food was perfect.” - Kim Hathaway

Legacy Member Scott Cosby was gracious and loaded up all who wanted to head out into the bay on his boat, and from the soaked riders returning to shore it looked like a good time was had by all.

“Thank you to Mrs. Dot, and the Society of the Honor Guard for an amazing time at the 1st annual BBQ. We really enjoyed meeting everyone. The food was fantastic, the views incredible and of course the boating was a highlight! We can’t thank you enough for putting this together and we look forward to the next one.” - Tara Hickman

A current Sentinel checks out the special rifle presented to COL Cosby during his sercvice in Vietnam.

As the sun began to set on a fantastic day, a rifle was passed to each Tomb Guard present, connecting all to the legacy of Platoon Leader Cosby’s influence on the platoon in 1958-60, as well as in the foundation of the Society. The rifle was presented to COL Cosby during his first tour in Vietnam by the South Vietnamese soldiers he fought beside during battle and was inscribed with a brass plaque to commemorate the bonds between warriors.

“I was honored to be amidst a family gathering on Saturday. A family gathering where everyone shared a connection. A connection to duty - honor – respect. The Society of the Honor Guard Tomb of the Unknown Soldier held its inaugural BBQ for current and former Tomb Guards and their families. I witnessed the sharing of stories and fellowship throughout the afternoon. There were occasional jabs at each other, often coming from an “intense” cornhole game. I smiled as the kids of current and former tomb guards jumped at the chance to skim the Potomac aboard a tube, with smiles aplenty. It was particularly fun when the “older kids”, aka the adults, alerted kids to the cake being served to provide just enough distraction to commandeer their own chance to be out on the water. The afternoon’s delicious picnic fare hit the spot with something for everyone to enjoy. In the quieter moments, folks visited under the giant tree covered patio and appreciated the waterside views. Especially meaningful was witnessing members and Dot Cosby reviewing pictures, recalling the journey to this point and sharing hopes and dreams. Their faces seemed to say it all. ‘This is what it is all about’. As the sun began to set, and the day drew to close, this family gathered together – old and new – current and former…to honor founder, Neale Cosby. As this day was also the anniversary of his passing, it was fitting to continue his dream that this Tomb Guard family be together in friendship, as family and honoring the mission to NEVER FORGET.” - Natalie Jensen


As dusk broke upon those gathered, the US Flag was raised back to full staff ending a great day of fellowship.


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