Installation Honor Guard Programs
You will never see an individual who does not meet the height requirement on a service drill team (there are so few exceptions, it’s not worth going into detail). Also, you will never see an officer on a service honor guard color team or as a member of the service’s drill team. The only way an officer is part of the drill team is as a commander and then he or she is not usually an integral part of the routine except for a few minutes here and there (one exception to this is the USAF Honor Guard Drill Team’s 2012 routine where the commander actually gets to catch a rifle).
So, what if you are too short to go to your service’s Presidential Honor Guard and still want to do the things they do? Join the team at your installation.
The USAF Base Honor Guard Program
The Air Force is the only service to have a full-time trained team that can go and perform a full honors funeral at a moment’s notice. BHG are at all installations across the globe. Installation location is one of the guides for the size of the team. Teams located in warmer climates where more retirees live are somewhat larger than teams at remote locations. Since Airmen are most often the only ones who are honor guard trained they end up being the go-to people for when stationed in joint service situations.
Other Service Honor Guard Programs
There aren’t any, per se. What the other services have are color guards at each base or post. There is one sergeant on the installation who is the Color Sergeant or an LPO (Lead Petty Officer) and he or she is in charge of the team. Sometimes these teams will have to put together a funeral detail and, while these teams try their best, it’s close to impossible to gather and train a firing party and pall bearers and have them perform well in less than 2 days.Some funeral tasking notifications are very short-notice.
Many funerals are taken care of by the Arny’s National Guard in each state. Each service’s reserve units also handle funerals as well.
What’s the bottom line? Check into what your installation offers and if there isn’t an ongoing program- make one! I’ll help you as much as I can.
See also my article on the AP3.