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 …

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 …

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 …

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: Stop Taking Aim!

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A Firing Party fires a ceremonial Three-Volley salute using modern or traditional rifles (military), shotguns, or pistols (law enforcement). It is not the 21-Gun Salute, that is fired by guns (canons) and only in the Army and Navy. The Numbers: Anywhere from three to seven members firing with a commander. The smaller amount of members on the team does not …

Avoiding Flag Fold Problems

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Here are two ways to avoid potential problems Cutting the First Stripe The method of “cutting” the first stripe, used when a flag has been folded many, many times and is now stretched out to where it will not end up positioned properly for the tuck at the end, creates a very small initial triangle helping create more cloth for …

Distance and Alignment Training

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This is the best way that I know how to train a team to consistently maintain alignment and distance. When the platoon/flight falls in, they should always “dress and cover” without command. This is standard and if you are not doing this and relying on the commander to give commands, you are not falling in properly- this goes for every …