Protocol for the Thin Line Flags

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The Thin Blue Line and the Thin Red Line. Hi there–I am a funeral director and have recently made funeral arrangements for a retired police officer. He is not a military veteran, but 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 …

The Color Guard and Multiple National & State Colors

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Multiple National Colors So, what is a team to do when you have more than one national color? Here is some information to consider: When overseas Air Force Base Honor Guard teams carry both colors when called to present them on base and in the local community. The photo here is of the Spangdahlem Air Base team when we (I’m …

Making Things More “Ceremonialer”

DrillMaster Color Guard/Color Team, Commentary, Honor Guard Leave a Comment

“Ceremonialer” is the term I created as I’ve watched members of the military, first responders (many who are veterans), and cadets perform movements that do not bring any more reverence or honor to what they are doing at ceremonies . Similar terms would be: When it comes to the American flag and rendering honors, never should anyone use the thinking, …

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) …

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 …

First Responder Casket Watch Videos

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Here is a playlist of three videos of law enforcement and firefighters learning the solemn technique of casket watch during three different honor guard academies that I’ve taught. You will notice that the techniques have changed slightly at certain points as my refining process has continued. The last video of the Louisiana LEOs (Oct 2015) is the latest iteration of …

Firing Party: The Three Volley Salute

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Let us get this out of the way first: a firing party does not fire the 21-gun Salute.  It is fired on land or at sea, and only by canons, which are called guns. I know we call a rifle a gun, but it’s a rifle. (Click here to read Fire Team, Firing Party and Firing Squad. What’s the Difference?) The …

The Firefighter’s Ceremonial Axe Manual

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See also the article, Resistance to Change: Betrayal?, for some insight that may help dealing with this sometimes rather touchy issue. Why an axe manual in the first place? Firefighter honor guard units use two of their tools as ceremonial equipment that are normally used to fight fires. When I first began writing my book, The Honor Guard Manual, I wanted …

Honor Guard Training Q and A with The DrillMaster

DrillMaster Color Guard/Color Team, Honor Guard, Honor Guard Training, Instructional 8 Comments

Do you have an honor guard question? I am happy to answer it! Q: We already have 9 people committed to being on the Honor Guard. Is there a minimum/maximum that is desired? A: For my courses, yes, 12-25 trainees. For an honor guard, no, not really. Most of what you will do will be colors presentations for ceremonies and …

Ask DrillMaster: State Flag on a Casket?

DrillMaster Ask DrillMaster, Honor Guard Training, Instructional 1 Comment

Question: I have been searching for an answer to a question and cannot find it. I hope you can help me. The question is what is the meaning of a state flag draped over a coffin? Answer: Hello James, thank you very much for the question.I’ve answered it here to help inform others who may have the same question. The …