Avatar for Dennis J. McMahon III

One day while on the mat early on a Summer morning in 1988, an elderly gentleman stood on the South end of the Plaza, near the chains. Every time I came to a stop and faced DC, he told me portions of a story, which still effects me to this day. He started by telling me that as far as he was concerned, I (and the other Sentinels) was guarding the majority of his family. His father had been missing since WWII while serving in the Army in Italy. His Uncle served in Korea, and never came home and his son served in Vietnam and was listed as missing. He had no other brothers or sons. So as far as he was concerned, the sentinels were watching over his loved ones. He told me bit by bit for my entire one half hour tour, weeping the entire time. After the guard change I returned to the plaza for a wreath laying ceremony, and the man was gone. I still think about him to this day. It gave me the sense of meaning for the small sacrifice I was making in guarding the Unknowns. I am sure there are numerous people who are missing loved ones, who probably feel the same way. I know I can never feel or fully understand their pain, however, I can take solace in knowing I did a good and honorable thing for my country and its citizens.

  • 1st Platoon, Company E (Honor Guard), 3rd US Infantry (The Old Guard), Ft Myer, VA
  • 1st Relief, TUS, Company E (Honor Guard), 3rd US Infantry (The Old Guard), Ft Myer, VA
  • HHC, 3d Armored Division, Frankfurt, Germany
  • 297th Military Intelligence Battalion, 513th MI Brigade, Ft Monmouth, NJ
  • 202nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 513th MI Brigade, Ft Gordon, GA
  • 500th Military Intelligence Brigade, Camp Zama, Japan
  • 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 3rd Special Forces Group, Ft Bragg, NC
  • HHD, 525th Military Intelligence Brigade (Airborne), Ft Bragg, NC
  • Company A, 310th Military Intelligence Battalion, Ft Meade, MD
  • HHC, 310th Military Intelligence Battalion, Fort Meade, MD
  • A Company, 524th Military Intelligence Battalion, Seoul, South Korea
  • HHD, 501st Military Intelligence Brigade, Seoul, South Korea
  • Legion of Merit
  • Bronze Star
  • Tomb Guard Identification Badge (# 320)
  • Meritorious Service Medal (3 Oak Leaf Cluster)
  • Army Commendation Medal (3 Oak Leaf Cluster)
  • Army Achievement Medal (3 Oak Leaf Cluster)
  • Army Good Conduct Medal (6th Award)
  • National Defense Service Medal (with Bronze Star)
  • Korean Defense Service Medal
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • Southwest Asia Service Medal (3 Bronze Stars)
  • Kuwait Liberation Medal
  • Overseas Service Ribbon (with \\\\\\"2\\\\\\" numeral)
  • Army Superior Unit Award (w/Oak Leaf)
  • Meritorious Unit Award
  • NCO Professional Development Ribbon (with \\\\\\"3\\\\\\" numeral)
  • Army Service Ribbon
  • Expert Infantryman Badge
  • Air Assault Badge
  • Master Driver Badge
  • German Sch├╝tzenschnur Badge (Bronze)
  • Member of the Sgt Audie Murphy Club
  • Knowlton Award (Military Intelligence Corps Association