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, 20-25 trainees. For an honor guard, no, not really. Most of what you will do will be colors presentations for ceremonies and parades. A color team needs 4 people as the minimum. Actually, you could march a 3-man team, if need be, with just the American flag, but that is not usual. Six or 8 members are required for pall bearers and a firing party is made up of a minimum of 4: one commander and three to fire. Pall bearers can make up the firing party, so if you had a funeral, then you would need at a bare minimum, 4 for the color team and six for the pall bearers/firing party. If you have a LODD, I’m sure you won’t have any problem finding more volunteers that you could train to carry the casket and then post off to the side somewhere while the rest of the trained honor guard perform the ceremonial duties. Part of the course is training in the six-man flag fold and you can record it and use it over and over for your internal training. I’ll also teach your team the 2-man flag fold which is much easier to perform, especially at the last minute.
Q: We were hoping to coordinate with a local pipes and drums band to be present for some of our services, is that something you could provide feedback on during the academy as far as how to go about including that?
A: Pipes and drums are part of the honor guard family, but perform separately. It would be relatively easy to include them in any kind of ceremony as you would just work out a certain signal with the drum major for them to play. I don’t think you would need my help with that, although this is a legitimate question (as are all of your questions) for a team that is just beginning.
Q: We as of yet have no equipment.
A: I suggest purchasing equipment first. Equipment is very necessary, distinct uniforms are not (read below for my explanation).
Q: We will be purchasing uniforms, and I am wondering if they should differ from our Dress “Class A” uniforms? Should the uniforms be purchased and tailored prior to the training?
A: Having completely different uniforms requires quite a bit of money (www.lighthouse.com is good). I think this should be last on your list, here is what I recommend: 1) obtain equipment; 2) secure training; 3) distinctive honor guard uniforms at some point in time. You could make your Class A uniform distinctive by adding an Honor Guard arc to the left/right shoulder and a shoulder cord or aiguillette to the left for a fraction of the cost of outfitting your team with new uniforms.
Q: Regarding the rifles, should one be purchased for every member?
A: A color team requires two rifle guards. I think it would be a good idea to have four or even six riufles so that more members can train at the same time with the rifles. I also suggest that you obtain the same number of colors, staffs and harnesses.
Q: How much time do you need ahead of time to prepare for the course and scheduling?
A: I can be ready in as little as two weeks and think it would be good for you to order your equipment, setup a tentative training date, advertise it to other state departments to get 20-25 trainees and then get with me when you have the funding to take care of the training- I want to emphasize that, if you want to, you could run two one-week academies and have half of your team trained each week while having the other 10-15 trainees coming from other departments, thereby defraying your costs considerably while having only half of your team off their normal duties. Just food for thought.
Q: I just want to verify for our training that the cost is all inclusive for your fees/travel/room and board?
A: Yes, everything is included in the cost: course fee, travel, room and board.
Q: Would we be conducting the graduation mock funeral at a cemetery?
A: I’ve had a mock funeral at a funeral home and one at the front of a public library. Anywhere you would like, we can probably work it out.
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