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) …

Protocol for the Thin Blue and Red Line Flags

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FYI, this flag violates the Flag Code.  Question: I am a funeral director and have recently made funeral arrangements for a retired police officer. He is not a military veteran, so the family would like to drape his casket with the thin blue line flag (the black and white flag with the blue line representing police officers). I know with …

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 Burial at Sea

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Burial at Sea is a long standing maritime tradition and, just like a committal service on land, there are certain procedures to follow. Picture courtesy of navaltoday.com. It’s not just military members, Coast Guard or Merchant Mariners, there are also law enforcement and firefighting departments that have water-dedicated sections and burial at sea for the members of those sections would …

Creating a Casket Deck

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When a firefighter passes, many, if not all of the time an apparatus (fire truck) is used as a caisson. Whether it’s an antique or a modern apparatus, it is a fitting way to transport a fallen brother or sister. The hose bed is emptied and used to transport the casket. There are a couple problems, however. The first problem …

The First Responder Ceremonial Uniform

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A short time ago, I was sent a uniform question by an Assistant Fire Chief regarding creating the unit’s new ceremonials for the honor guard members. I thought it would be a relatively quick answer. It turned into three days of research and ten pages of text and images. I didn’t mind it a bit, thanks Chief! My uniform, in …

The DrillMaster Practice Ceremonial Fire Axe

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I thought the name, DrillMaster iAxe or iAx, (like the DrillMaster iDrill Rifle, because you, “I” make it) might just look weird, so I went with the longer name. Still, it works. The ceremonial fire axe is the usual weapon of choice for firefighter colors teams. However, firefighters are paramilitary and some teams do use the traditional rifle. Other units …

2016 Operation Honor Guard Day of Giving

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“Right now we as a nation are struggling with many negative issues in our country, but the one thing I can tell you is this… Americans love their veterans and Operation Honor Guard shows this by the overwhelming response and outpouring of monies and support by community members.” -Rich Darby The 2016 Operation Honor Guard Day of Giving was a …

Excellence is More Than “Clean”

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“Clean” has many different definitions. In visual terms, however, we use it to mean, “having no needed corrections; easily readable”. WHOA! what is this “easily readable” stuff, are we are talking about drill teams? Yes, drill teams are a part of the visual performance family. This family includes, dance, marching band, step, etc. Click here for my article explaining Readability. See …