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 …

To Post or Present, That is the Question

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Geared more toward honor guard units, but cadets can also use this information. With apologies to William Shakespeare… Color teams have a choice, based on ceremony location, size of the area (room or outside area), size of the audience, and time limit, as to whether the team should “Show-n-Go” or post. The Show-n-Go Equipment needed: two sets of colors, floor stands, …

Communication and Respect

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In the movie, Ghost Busters, Egon Spengler says, “Print is dead.” To some extent, I agree, but words on the screen are alive and well. In the military, we know how to communicate and how to show respect in all forms of communication. After all, the military relies heavily on communication and it must be done the right way the …

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 …

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 …

The “Savard Manual” or “Savards”

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A short time ago, Leslie Savard Hamud sent a question to me through my facebook page, The Honor Guard Manual. To me, the question a little cryptic and out of left field- but I really enjoy left field questions! Here is how the conversation went: Leslie: Hello, I am the daughter of Al Savard and my dad is a proud …

Don’t Break Vertical

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When executing facing movements while armed with a rifle, do not break vertical. But, what does that mean? In Regulation Drill, drill that is based on the drill and ceremonies manual for each military service, without any added movements whatsoever, Drillers must execute the movements exactly as described. The preparatory commands for facing movements are Right, Left and About. Do not …