For a memorial service or funeral service inside a chapel (church, synagogue, etc.) there are a couple of setups from which the ceremonial team can choose:
Either setup that you choose, you have to consult with the pastor/rabbi as to what he prefers for the color team. There are to situations:
- Standard. Everyone enters (besides the pallbearers when they escort the casket/urn) without a cover (hat) and unarmed.
- Also acceptable. Everyone enters unarmed but wearing covers.
Pallbearers wear their covers entering and departing since their hands are full or, some have their hands full and all are covered for uniformity. The pallbearers move to their assigned seats, remove their covers and take their seats. On cue, they rise, replace their covers and move into position to fold the flag or move the casket to the coach/caisson. The team can also leave the chapel and wait for their cue.
Color Team rifle/axe guards usually enter unarmed, but that depends on the pastor/rabbi. The team can also enter and leave uncovered. However, this requires pre-planning to find a place to remove the teams covers and leave the rifles. Leaving someone to watch over the items. The team either posts the colors or posts themselves, covered or not, armed or not. Law enforcement sidearms do not fall into this category, wear them all the time.
And Casket Watch?
This is a bit different. Armed (with a rifle, axe or shotgun) casket watch is usually not accomplished, unarmed (except for LEO sidearms) is the standard. Casket watch members should be in full uniform (Ceremonial, Class A, etc.) including the cover. For more on casket watch, click here.