Former Tomb Guard Pins Son with Badge

By Kevin M. Hymel, Historian on 1/16/2024

When Bryan Campagna pinned the Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Identification badge onto the chest of his son, Staff Sgt. Isaiah Jasso-Campagna, it symbolized more than a father honoring his son. Campagna had earned his own Tomb badge as a Tomb Guard decades earlier, making the pair only the second father-son badge earners in the history of the Army’s 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).

To earn his badge, Jasso-Campagna completed five phases of testing and demonstrated a high degree of proficiency in Army and Tomb Guard knowledge. Tomb Guards who earn the badge are called Sentinels.

Jasso-Campagna received his badge at a ceremony in the chapel of Arlington National Cemetery on Jan. 11, 2024. As he stood at attention before a crowd of family, friends and his fellow Tomb Guards, Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Jay, who oversaw the ceremony, told him, “You have met the standard and you are now charged with helping the next soldiers grow into Sentinels.”

Jay then invited Jasso-Campagna’s father to pin the badge onto his son. Campagna needed no instruction as to where to pin the badge, having worn one himself when he served as a Tomb Guard from 2002 to 2004. Some of Jasso-Campagna’s family members came to tears. Once he finished the task, Campagna patted his son on his abdomen and returned to his seat. Everyone applauded.

With his Tomb Badge firmly in place, Jasso-Campagna recited the Sentinel’s creed. “My dedication to this sacred duty is total and wholehearted,” he declared in a strong voice. His father immediately stood at attention and joined his son and the other Tomb Guards in reciting the rest of the creed in unison.

“It was a very emotional experience,” Jasso-Campagna said after the ceremony. “I came down to Arlington National Cemetery twenty years ago to watch my father do the same job,” he added, “so to be here receiving the badge and doing the same thing he did was truly something else.”

The ceremony also meant a lot to Campagna. “It was a special moment to see my son’s achievement,” he said, “and a privilege for our family.” While Campagna did not directly help his son study for his tests, he helped in other ways. “I just gave him encouragement and direction and support.”