Darrel Annen, graduated from Hemingford High School in 1955. He then joined the Army on February 7, 1956. He took his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.
He was then sent to Fort Hood, TX, where he said the scorpions and tarantulas were so bad you had to empty your shoes before putting them on. Darrel asked to be assigned to heavy equipment, but the Army had other plans.
Instead, he was assigned to the 3rd Infantry, known as the “Grand Old Guard.” Stationed at Fort Myer, VA, the 3rd infantry is the oldest active Army regiment. It performs at military funerals, parades and laying of wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The 3rd infantry also serves as the President’s Honor Guard.
An article in The Hemingford Ledger from 1956 reads, “Pvt. Darrel J. Annen of Hemingford, recently was picked to serve in the 3rd Infantry Regiment, the Army’s top ceremonial unit in Washington, D.C.”
Members of the third follow a strict dress code. Their uniforms have to be tailored just so. Darrel and another member took the initiative to purchase a used sewing machine and made sure the infantry’s uniforms fit just right.
1957 was an exciting and active year for Darrrel and members of the 3rd Infantry. Washington, D.C. played host to Dwight D. Eisenhower’s second inauguration and a state visit from Queen Elizabeth II.
Darrel said, “We started to line up at 6:00 a.m. for the Inaugural Parade. I marched for 2 ½ hours in the parade (The Parade itself lasted 5 ½ to 6 hours) then went back to the barracks and watched the rest of the parade on TV.
In October of 1957, an article ran in The Hemingford Leger titled, “Annen to help welcome queen.”
“Special Third Class Darrel J. Annen, son of Mr. and Mrs. John B. Annen, Hemingford, will participate in ceremonies honoring Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, who will arrive in Washington, D.C., October 17 for a state visit.”
Darrel was discharged a year later on February 6, 1958.