(Gene Bane/Stars and Stripes)

Berlin, Germany, September 1961: Staff Sgt. Dallas A. Pinckney, center, of Tallahassee, Fla., stands at the front of the 2nd Battle Group Honor Guard that he was assigned to organize after arriving in Berlin in 1959. The troops’ job was “to carry the national colors, escort VIPs, demonstrate weapons and uniforms, and put on close-order drill exhibitions unrivaled in precision” — all in their spare time from regular duties as riflemen in Company D during the crisis surrounding construction of the Berlin Wall. Pinckney, a Korean War veteran, had created a similar unit at Fort Lewis in the 1950s, and it was good enough to earn a spot on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

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