Eugene Burks Jr.
Eugene Burks Jr. is a 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and a saddler. Burks learned many aspects of his leather craft from his grandmother, a dressmaker. Trained in canvas and light textile repair, Burks worked in the Caisson Platoon Leather Shop from 1981 until he retired in 1996. He was brought back as a civilian to run the Leather Shop in order to continue the historically important work done there. He taught himself to make the leather tack and harness and standardized the practice that is passed on to the young soldiers. Everything had been made by hand until 2003 when the Shop started using sewing machines. There are up to 7 funerals per day at Arlington National Cemetery and preparation of the horses and caissons is a solemn task that requires perfection and precision.
The Old Guard is one of the most remarkable units in the world, and I hope to always be a part of it. It offers a great service for Soldiers that have given their lives and that’s motivation for me to continue doing my best.– Eugene Burks Jr.