Away from the spotlight and cameras that broadcast the images of soldiers returning home to embrace their awaiting loved ones are the soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as The Old Guard. They also welcome home the soldiers of Iraq and Afghanistan. They are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to receive the remains of America’s fallen soldiers at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Del. When the call comes in, the soldiers, dressed in the army combat uniform and white gloves, meet the aircraft carrying the transfer cases of deceased soldiers returning from overseas, and with stoic precision, receive the flag-draped caskets and carry them to awaiting vehicles. In the middle of the day or night, in the heat, cold or rain, with or without the relatives present, every returning soldier receives the 15-minute ceremony called a dignified transfer.
Need to Know is a production of Creative News Group (CNG) in association with WNET. Marc Rosenwasser is Executive Producer. Need to Know is made possible by Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Mutual of America, Citi Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Foundation, Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS.