The Color Guard Wedge Formation

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Never, ever, ever, ever, should a color guard use this line formation with the American in the middle.   Someone will say, “But the American is higher.” That is NOT the standard. The standard is all colors at the same height and the American flag on the marching right. The American flag should never be taller for a color guard. …

A Reading Plan for JROTC Instructors and Cadets

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For many years now, I’ve received requests from JROTC instructors, especially those recently retired and new to the program, and some highly motivated cadets as to where to begin when teaching/learning drill. For regulation and color guard drill: Army- Training Circular (TC) 3-21.5.  Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard- Marine Corps Order (MCO)P5060.2 Air Force*- Air Force Manual (AFMAN) 36-2203 …

Color Guard: Two Guards, American Flag, and…?

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The standard color guard has four members: Right/Lead Guard American Flag Bearer Other Flag Bearer Left/Trail Guard Guards The guards are always armed (except in a chapel, at the discretion of the pastor). The weapons the guards may carry are: Ceremonial-style rifle (M1, M14, M1903) Modern automatic rifle (M16, etc., not as nice looking) Shotgun (fairly standard for law enforcement) …

Raising and Lowering the Flag

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Across the country,  JROTC units receive requests to perform duties several times each year and Memorial Day is no different. Unfortunately, what the cadets are requested to do can create concern. Here is an example. Recently a CMSgt JROTC instructor wrote to me seeking guidance since his cadets had practiced and practiced a certain way (read: properly, as the Chief …

American First Responder Joint Service Order

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Is this a “thing”? Possibly, my reasoning for the research and writing this article is to provide information that may be necessary for certain situations for American First Responders. For the US military, we have our joint service order or military order of precedence:  Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The order is based on the creation of …

The Honor Guard and the Suicide

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It’s been years since I was part of an Airman’s Active Duty (full honors) funeral who committed suicide (early 1990s). During the preparation for that funeral I remember some of my fellow guardsmen voicing their opinion as to whether the Airmen deserved full honors or even a flag on his casket. Suicide is looked upon as shameful; less so now, …

The Three Types of Respect

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And you probably thought there was only one type. I did initially. Thank you very much to my Facebook friends who chimed in giving me their requested feedback for this article. Very interesting! I need to make one point very clear, it does not matter what one “thinks” about this subject. “I think respect is…” What you think, what I …

The “Flake Monster” at Obama’s Farewell

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It happens to the best. It’s called “Flaking” in the Ceremonial World. You hydrate, eat well, exercise and you don’t lock your knees, but all of the sudden, after standing for two-and-a-half hours, your vision pinpoints, you feel light headed and BAM! you are out cold on the ground. It’s physical, it’s mental, and it’s physiological. It is quite possible …

All About the Firing Party

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The Firing Party (Information taken from the book, The Honor Guard Manual (Second Edition).) All military services use the firing party for memorials and funerals. Law enforcement agencies also use the firing party to render honors.  “Ah yes, the 21-Gun Salute!” I hear you say. My reply: Stop right there! Only Army and Navy cannons fire the 21-Gun salute. A …

When to Drape the Deceased

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My firefighting friends in California had a great question for me. Here are my thoughts. What a tragedy to lose a fellow firefighter, emergency medic, or law enforcement officer, let alone a member of the armed forces. However, it does happen and all too often. Since we know that death comes to us all and that it is just a …