Tag Archives: color guard

The Burial at Sea

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 be appropriate.

Ceremonial Elements
The elements for a land-based full honors funeral are the body bearers (pallbearers), color team, firing party, and troop escort. See also The Graveside Sequence for Funeral Directors Part 1 , Part 2, and Part 3 for explanations of the different arrangements for funerals.

Being at sea is a bit different. The six or eight body bearers are there whether there is a casket or cremains and the firing party is there. The color team is replaced by the flag(s) flown at half mast aboard ship. It depends on the size of the deck as to whether there is room for a formation (the troop escort).

US Navy Ceremonial Guardsmen personnel carry the cremains of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong during a burial at sea service aboard the USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, in the Atlantic Ocean. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Also, because the committal service is on a boat or ship at sea, standing at attention with your feet together is not necessarily the most stable position. Keeping your feet apart is probably going to be the better technique to maintain stability, no matter the position for the rest of your body. Notice the picture here of Neil Armstrong’s burial. All of the Ceremonial Guardsmen are at Attention even though their feet are apart.

Atlantic Ocean (May 19, 2004) – Sailors commit to the sea the body of Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Nathan Taylor during a Burial at Sea ceremony conducted from one of the ship’s aircraft elevators aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Rob Gaston

Casket, Urn, or Shroud
It all depends what the deceased wants or what the family wants for the deceased. If a metal or wood casket is used, weights are added and large holes drilled to help it sink quickly. If the casket does not readily sink, the casket must be retrieved, weight and/or holes are added and the casket is then sent into the water again.

Central Command Area of Responsibility (May 01, 2003) — Sailors aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) honor six former U.S. military members during a burial at sea ceremony. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Journalist Alan J. Baribeau.

For cremains (cremated remains), there are a couple of different ways that the cremains enter the water. Due to environmental concerns, placing a plastic urn into the water is not done anymore. Metal and ceramic or good, but biodegradable urns are preferred.

An alternative to placing the urn in the water is to open the urn and the plastic bag that is inside and then dump the cremains (some ashes, but mostly bone) into the water.

The burial shroud can be sail material or this interesting shroud the is specifically made for sea burials and yet is appropriate for viewing the deceased in the funeral home.  It is the Atlantic & Pacific Sea Burial Shroud. It is pre-weighted with canon balls in a separate compartment at the bottom.

Atlantic Pacific Burial Shroud

The Firing Party
The team fires the Three Volley Salute out over the water without taking aim.

For complete details, click here to download NAVPERS 15555, Navy Military Funerals, or from the Downloads page.

Fair Winds and Following Seas

Creating a Casket Deck

Aspen Fire Antique TruckWhen 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 is the casket marring the hose bed floor and the second, more serious problem is the casket not being secure. Both problems are now solved.

Before we get to the solution, I want to briefly outline the process of loading/unloading a casket on an apparatus.

Assuming the removable casket deck is inserted into the hose bed, here is the process. The number of firefighters who handle the casket, besides the six or eight pallbearers, depends on the height and type of apparatus used.

In this picture, the firefighters who were in training with me had a real funeral for a retiree to attend during our academy in Texas (2013). You can see the men staged on the tailboard and hose bed to receive the casket from the pallbearers. All three men  rode in the bed on the way to the church and cemetery ensuring the casket remained in place.

This is one of the pictures from the graduation ceremony later that same week. Here, the commander of the pallbearers, marches up, steps up onto the tailboard and ensures the casket is ready to move. He is executing an Air Force technique of dressing the flag before the pallbearers retrieve it. Notice the red metal step. This fire engine is an antique with a relatively high tailboard. I also know of portable platforms for pallbearers to step up onto that have room for all six pallbearers (I would appreciate any pictures, diagrams, and measurements to share with others).

Loading and unloading the casket is easier with more honor guard members at key places. Your specific procedures should be written and practiced at least once a quarter to ensure team members have a general idea of the procedures outlined.

The Casket Deck
The solution to our problems identified above is to create a removable casket deck that can fit into the hose bed that can also double for training. Here is how I created and installed the deck that I use.

I began with a higher quality plywood board that one of the members of Home Depot suggested. It has a nice wood for the outside layer. I then ordered the deck materials required for holding a casket:

  • Bier Pin (has a twist knob)
  • Bier Pin Plate (7 holes)
  • Bier Pin Stop (at rear of deck)
  • Bier Pin Stop Plate (1 -or 2-hole)
  • Glide Strips (a less expensive alternative to rollers, works extremely well)

I purchased all of my materials from the G. Burns Corporation, they have everything you need and are great at solving any problems one may encounter.

After using the glide strips now for a little while I have encountered one issue that I’ll call “Casket Play”. Casket Play is when you insert the casket, not so much when you remove it. Upon inserting a casket into a coach (the name used for the hearse around the family), the rollers will “grab” the casket and make it quite easy to load straight. The glide strips, however, tend to let the casket slide to either side while the casket is pushed onto the deck, especially if the ground on which the trailer rests is slanted to either side. If you want to completely avoid this, you can purchase rollers from this website and elsewhere.

I drilled and cut the holes after making the necessary marks, it was really quite easy. For the two bier pin plates I considered drilling each hole, but decided to drill each end for the plate and then cut a groove so that I could use each plate hole is necessary.

The stained end was a test for me- which a later regretted while I was staining the rest of the board, it didn’t blend. However, it wasn’t meant to be a family heirloom. At this step is probably where you, for adaptation onto the hose bed, would add a frame with supports running across every couple of feet underneath so that the bolts would not touch the bed.

Then came the stain (Minwax Read Oak), and the protective coats of polyurathane on both sides.

The next step was attaching the materials to the deck. Notice in this picture how the bier pin plates and glide strips are offset to the left, that is to make room in my trailer for the doorway so that the casket can easily slide in and out during training.

My frame was waiting for me in my trainer having built that out of furring strips.

Then came time to install the deck.

To ensure that the casket would not move at all, I cut small squares out of each side of the deck and installed large eye bolts into the frame. With these eye bolts, I use a cargo strap that I crank down to keep the casket safely in place. You can see one of the eye bolts below.

The project finished. My deck is 8’4″ by 3’1″.

I hope you find this helpful.

The First Responder Ceremonial Uniform

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 picture at right, is a firefighter or law enforcement Class A uniform from Lighthouse Uniform Company that has a great uniform creator on its website. (http://catalog.lighthouseuniform.com/ems/illustrator.php)  It was a basic uniform and I added the aiguillette and the stripes around each sleeve with matching stripes down each trouser leg. I had the option of several types of buttons, I chose generic gold colored.I have 1/8th inch sewn creases at the front an back of the trouser legs, front and back of the sleeves, and down each quarter panel of the blouse which helps the material lay flat when I’m “bloused” wearing a ceremonial belt.

The same with the service cap (cover), I added the gold ceremonial chin strap with the blood red stripe for the front and a buckle chin strap in the back which is the one that goes under my chin when working colors.

Due to costs involved, my suggestion to first responder units is to take the standard Class A uniform that the department wears and make it distinct. This seems like the route you may be taking. Even so, creating an entirely different ceremonial uniform say, a Marine Corps styled tunic as opposed to the department’s double-breasted Class A uniform.

Another suggestion is to have the whole team dressed alike except for awards and rank. This includes the color of uniform stripes, buttons and covers. If you choose to have the team wear a shoulder cord, there are different types from which to choose.

Shoulder Cords
An inexpensive and even temporary way to create a distinct uniform is to attach a shoulder cord. If you choose to have the team wear a shoulder cord, there are different types from which to choose.

Single cord, button loop shoulder cord

The circle braid cord

The single strand cord

The wide braid cord

The knot loop citation cord

The aiguillette

The ornate dress aiguillette that has a separate attachment

The citation cord

The double cord shoulder cord

While not a cord, there is also a shoulder knot

Cords that separate- useful when the epaulet button is only decorative

Images courtesy of
paradestore.com
and
Supplyroom.com

There is a difference between where the shoulder cord fits on the shoulder, whether it sits on the outside of the shoulder (usually due to no epaulet) or if it attaches to the epaulet button located more toward the neck.

Shirt Color

Blue seems to be more of a work uniform color; although nothing says that the blue dress shirt would not be acceptable. White may be the best choice for your team. I highly recommend a short sleeve shirt like the Army Service Uniform Shirt, pictured below. Get the sleeves altered so that they do not bunch up inside your blouse. Image from marlowwhite.com.

Neckties

Many female first responders wear the male tie instead of the tie tab. Still, here are some options. Along with a necktie, you will need to keep it in place. Tape works well (no one can see it) however, a tie pin, clasp, is an option – keep in mind that if there is any depth to the device that you use, it may cause a slight bulge in your blouse which is something to avoid. Uniform neckties come in Black and navy blue and male neckties come in two lengths.

Standard Necktie

Ladies Crossover Necktie (Navy-style)

Velcro Tab Necktie

Ladies Tie Tab (Army/AF-style)

marlowwhite.com

Other images from lighthouse.com

A properly fitted tie should have the tip centered, top to bottom, on the belt buckle, like the picture below. That is the goal but coming within one inch is fine. After all, you will be wearing your blouse.

Picture courtesy of army.mil

Instead of a necktie, the Bib Scarf or Ascot is something to consider for your uniform. I’m not a huge fan of them simply because they do not present a finished appearance. They do allow for movement (see the USAF Honor Guard Drill Team). Plus, depending on shirt color, the darker colored scarves can show through. Picture courtesy of paradestore.com.

Double- or Single-Breasted Blouse?
Blouse defined: a loose upper garment that does not get tucked in. An upper garment that is tucked is called a shirt. A coat, for our definition, would be a long garment worn to keep warm.

Law enforcement agencies seem to go for the single-breasted style.

The traditional style for firefighters seems to be double-breasted, however, that is merely anecdotal as I have seen many firefighter ceremonial units with the single-breasted blouse. Note: the ceremonial units have single-breasted, while the Class A uniform might be the double. My suggestion is that, if you want to use a ceremonial belt for certain formations, a single-breasted blouse will be your best look with a ceremonial belt.

Single-breasted

Double-breasted

High Collar

Ike

Images courtesy of

marlowwhite.com

Gloves
A must-have is a set of proper fitting gloves. Snap-close gloves or gloves that do not have a snap and just a slight gap do not present a finished ceremonial image at all. Flag bearer gloves present a terrible image with theit Velcro strap that wraps around the wrist. The best gloves to get are what paradestore.com calls Honor Guard Gloves. Before slipping them on, fold the excess wrist material down twice to the thumb (see below). Get the gloves lined, unlined, plain, or with a non-slip coating (like chicken skin).

Honor Guard Gloves

Snap Gloves

No, No, No, No, No

Flag Bearer Gloves

Absolutely no!

Properly folded honor guard glove

Images from paradestore.com and marlowwhite.com

Inclement Weather Gear

Depending on where you live, you will need to add to your uniform rack and add an overcoat and a raincoat. Below are images from Marlow White. The overcoat the offer comes in double-breasted and comes with excellent directions on how to convert it to single-breasted. The overcoat replaces the ceremonial blouse in winter weather. The belt is not worn (replaced with the ceremonial belt) and the belt loops removed, the same goes for the raincoat.

Overcoat

Raincoat

To Top it Off…
There are several covers from which to choose: bell cap, military service cap, cowboy hat, and the sheriff’s hat. For firefighter ceremonial units, the bell and military service caps are the standard choice.

Eight Point Cap

Bell Crown Cap

Pershing/Modified Pershing

Army/Air Force Style

Sheriff’s Hat

Campaign Hat

Trooper Winter Cap

Clear Rain Cover

Solid Color Rain Cover

Clear Rain Cover including bill

Front Chin Straps

Rear Buckle Chin strap

Images courtesy of paradestore.com, siegelsuniforms.com, lighthouseuniform.com, and paradestore.com.

My cover, as an example

Accent Colors
The colors that are usual for the uniform stripes, shoulder cords, and covers for law enforcement, blue, gold/yellow, or white, and for firefighters and EMS personnel, red, gold/yellow, or white. This is not to say that another color would not be appropriate for your unit. It’s completely your choice.

Keeping it All Together
There are several types of straps that lock onto your socks and pull your dress shirt down.

Shirt Lock

This garter clamps to your shirt and fits around your foot

Images courtesy of paradestore.com

The Travel Uniform
No one wants to wear their ceremonials in the car on the way to the ceremony. By the time you arrive, your blouse would look terrible. In steps the travel/practice uniform. Replace your blouse with a lightweight jacket for traveling and practicing when you arrive at the ceremony site. There are two advantages to this: 1. your blouse remains clean and wrinkle free, and, 2. No one mistakes your practicing for the “real thing” sending others into a panic (it happens). The picture at right is of my USAF ceremonial travel uniform worn by all honor guard members; the blouse is replaced by the lightweight jacket and the rain cap cover is worn to protect the cover. The jacket and rain cover really mute the ceremonial uniform, while presenting a professional image. Note: now, all Airmen on the honor guard now have the embroidered USAF logo as shown below, something that your unit may want to use, or even sew a unit patch there.

But Wait, There’s More!
Now that we have looked at each item of the uniform (see Shoes for the Driller), we need to carry that uniform around. Look to paradestore.com for garment bags (Wally Garment Bags are great), gear bags (check out SKU 1190), and cover (hat) bags.

Images courtesy of paradestore.com

The DrillMaster Practice Ceremonial Fire Axe

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 use a real fire axe, which is really quite heavy. Still others use the lightweight brushed aluminum ceremonial fire axe. The axe that I own is from paradestore.com. However, they do not sell it anymore. You can, however, can get them from planoamerica.com. I much prefer the look of the axe for a color team as the pike pole is a bit nondescript. Pike poles can be great for other ceremonial applications.

What you probably do not want to do is use your fairly expensive ceremonial axe during training. Using performance equipment equals wear and tear, dents, scratches, etc. Introducing the DrillMaster Training Ceremonial Fire Axe.

I’m not a woodworker, nor do I play one on TV, or anywhere else, really, but the 20 that I made fill the requirement just fine. Here is how I made them.

After ordering the wax finish hickory handles from Ace Hardware (Item no: 7020555 | 025545100954), I traced the ceremonial axe head that I had, marking where the handle inserted into the head. The wood I used was 2×6 pieces of pine for the heads.

I used a band saw to cut the heads after tracing them. It took me two lengths of board to lay up and trace 20 heads.

I also thought of tapering the pick and blade ends, but it just seemed to be too much work for being practice axes. You can see the practice axe head (lower left) that I used to see if a taper was worth it.

In the picture above, you can see my stellar routine job for the handles. I did know how to use the router, so I learned the hard way, but it was fun to learn and I patched several gaps in the heads later on. My original marks for the handle placement in the head helped me line up the handle so I could trace it for a routine guide. The routed holes are about an inch deep

I sanded each head so that each one was smooth and also lightly sanded each handle to remove the wax coating to prepare it for the stain that I had planned.

During some of the cutting and sanding, some splits occurred so I used a tiny amount of Titebond Ultimate Wood Glue and wrapped the area with a rubber band.

I cut about a half inch off of the end of the handles that fits into the heads. I held each handle in the routed hole while I drilled the holes for the wood screws – on one side I drilled toward the front and then toward the back on the other side. I put a generous amount of glue in the routed hole, inserted the handle and screwed it in place. I needed a couple more hands, easily.

Next came the wood filler and another learning process. While I probably didn’t have to do this, I wanted each axe to present a solid image. It worked out well, I used a Dremel with a drum attachment and then fine sandpaper. You can see waves on the bottom of the heads in the above picture, I didn’t have the patience or the proper tools to create a smooth edge with a slight angle to it.

My plan was to stain them in pairs which mostly worked. More lessons learned: I brushed on some stain and used a cloth for the darker stain and then wiped off some of the darker stain right away with another cloth (makes it lighter). The

I used four Minwax stains from my local Ace Hardware:

  1. Gunstock 231 (really light red I used a coat of Red Oak over it)
  2. Red Oak 215 (fairly dark)
  3. Sedona Red 222 (quite dark)
  4. Jacobean 2750 (very, very dark)

In this picture you can see the different finished stain colors and the first coat of polyurethane drying.

For each coat, I worked on the heads first, let them dry for a couple of hours with a fan on them, leaving them in the position in the picture, and then I worked on the handles and either rested each axe on its head or hung them from the rafters in my garage while the handles dried.

The finished product! I store them in the training casket that I have. They are comparable in weight to a brushed aluminum ceremonial fire axe. The first firefighters to use them during one of my academies was The Woodlands Fire Department Honor Guard. They seemed to like them.

2016 Operation Honor Guard Day of Giving

operation honor guard

“Right now we as a nation are struggling with many negative issues in our country, but the one thing I can tell you is this… Americans love their veterans and Operation Honor Guard shows this by the overwhelming response and outpouring of monies and support by community members.”

-Rich Darby

The 2016 Operation Honor Guard Day of Giving was a huge success! Community members and corporate partners combined to donate over 170,000.00. The response has been overwhelming and honor guards in Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan will soon be looking more uniform as their honor guard details head out to honor fallen veterans. Operation Honor Guard started out as just a local fundraiser in Vermilion County, headed by funeral director Rich Darby of Sunset Funeral Homes in Danville, IL. The fundraiser was such a success in year 3 when it raised over $60,000 that Rich knew it was time to turn this fundraiser into its own nonprofit organization. Operation Honor Guard now a 501(c)(3) organization exists to solely outfit and eventually train veteran service organization honor guards throughout the nation.

operation honor guard
Rich Darby, OHG Director, and a veteran honor guard member

It takes over $800 to properly outfit 1 honor guard member. On top of this other costs are flags, rifles, rifle repair, transportation, training, and any other item needed in the regular use of an ceremonial team. Funds raised this year will help numerous teams across Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan and this number will continue to rise each year as honor guard members are reaching out and asking for financial assistance. If you have questions, call Operation Honor Guard direct at 844-409-1049 or visit their website at www.operationhonorguard.us.

Excellence is More Than “Clean”

“Clean” has many different definitions. In visual terms, however, we use it to mean, “having no needed corrections; easily readable”.

WHOA! what is this “easily readable” stuff, are we are talking about drill teams? Yes, drill teams are a part of the visual performance family. This family includes, dance, marching band, step, etc. Click here for my article explaining Readability.

See this article, The Difference between Accuracy and Precision. Accuracy: the quality or state of being correct, and, Precision: the quality, condition, or fact of being exact.

Excellence: the quality of being outstanding or extremely good.

More than just the absence of error
You will notice how there are timing and technique issues, but the audience is always mesmerized and fully appreciative of the drill team’s performances, no matter what service team performs. The military service drill teams strive for audience engagement. The way you can tell is the constant use (all of the service drill teams do this) of the basic manual with slight adaptations and very little advanced exhibition rifle manual. In fact, the teams usually pick 2 or 4 soloists that have a more advanced and wider vocabulary with the rest of the team using the adapted manual.

Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.

Harriet B. Braiker

Service Core Values and You

standards

Each Service several years ago began codifying what the service stands for and what standards the service members needed to uphold. Even if you are a first-year JROTC cadet, you need to take on these standards and make them your own. It will be so beneficial for you right away and in the long term.

Don’t follow the ways of all of the junk broadcast on TV and in movies. Set standards and maintain them. You can also go a step beyond that and exceed the standards.

In service order:

Army Pall Bearers_200x280US Army (LDRSHIP)

  1. Loyalty – Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other Soldiers.
  2. Duty – Fulfill your obligations.
  3. Respect – Treat people as they should be treated.
  4. Selfless Service – Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.
  5. Honor – Live up to all the Army values.
  6. Integrity – Do what’s right, legally and morally.
  7. Personal Courage – Face fear, danger, or adversity [physical or moral].

US Marine Corps

  • Marine ColorsHonor This is the bedrock of our character. It is the quality that empowers Marines to exemplify the ultimate in ethical and moral behavior: to never lie, cheat, or steal; to abide by an uncompromising code of integrity; to respect human dignity; and to have respect and concern for each other. It represents the maturity, dedication, trust, and dependability that commit Marines to act responsibly, be accountable for their actions, fulfill their obligations, and hold others accountable for their actions.
  • Courage The heart of our Core Values, courage is the mental, moral, and physical strength ingrained in Marines that sees them through the challenges of combat and the mastery of fear, and to do what is right, to adhere to a higher standard of personal conduct, to lead by example, and to make tough decisions under stress and pressure. It is the inner strength that enables a Marine to take that extra step.
  • Commitment This is the spirit of determination and dedication within members of a force of arms that leads to professionalism and mastery of the art of war. It promotes the highest order of discipline for unit and self and is the ingredient that instills dedication to Corps and country 24 hours a day, pride, concern for others, and an unrelenting determination to achieve a standard of excellence in every endeavor. Commitment is the value that establishes the Marine as the warrior and citizen others strive to emulate.

US Navy

HONOR

  • Navy Honor Guard from FlikrI am accountable for my professional and personal behavior. I will be mindful of the privilege I have to serve my fellow Americans. I will:
  • Abide by an uncompromising code of integrity, taking full responsibility for my actions and keeping my word.
  • Conduct myself in the highest ethical manner in relationships with seniors, peers and subordinates.
  • Be honest and truthful in my dealings within and outside the Department ofthe Navy.
  • Make honest recommendations to my seniors and peers and seek honest recommendations from junior personnel.
  • Encourage new ideas and deliver bad news forthrightly.
  • Fulfill my legal and ethical responsibilities in my public and personal life.

COURAGE

  • Courage is the value that gives me the moral and mental strength to do what is right, with confidence and resolution, even in the face of temptation or adversity. I will:
  • Have the courage to meet the demands of my profession.
  • Make decisions and act in the best interest of the Department of the Navy and the nation, without regard to personal consequences.
  • Overcome all challenges while adhering to the highest standards of personal conduct and decency.
  • Be loyal to my nation by ensuring the resources entrusted to me are used in an honest, careful and efficient way.

COMMITMENT

  • The day-to-day duty of every man and woman in the Department of the Navy is to join together as a team to improve the quality of our work, our people and ourselves. I will:
  • Foster respect up and down the chain of command.
  • Care for the personal and spiritual well-being of my people.
  • Show respect toward all people without regard to race, religion or gender.
  • Always strive for positive change and personal improvement.
  • Exhibit the highest degree of moral character, professional excellence, quality, and competence in all that I do.

US Air Force

THE FIRST CORE VALUE: INTEGRITY FIRST

911 Airlift Wing Res in PA flag on leftThe Airman is a person of integrity, courage and conviction.

Integrity is a character trait. It is the willingness to do what is right even when no one is looking. It is the moral compass, the inner voice, the voice of self-control and the basis for the trust imperative in today’s military.

Integrity is the ability to hold together and properly regulate all of the elements of a personality. A person of integrity, for example, is capable of acting on conviction. A person of integrity can control impulses and appetites.

But integrity also covers several other moral traits indispensable to national service.

Courage
A person of integrity possesses moral courage and does what is right even if the personal cost is high.

Honesty
Honesty is the hallmark of the military professional because, in the military, our word must be our bond. We don’t pencil-whip training reports, we don’t cover up tech data violations, we don’t falsify documents and we don’t write misleading operational readiness messages. The bottom line is: We don’t lie, and we can’t justify any deviation.

Responsibility
No person of integrity is irresponsible; a person of true integrity acknowledges his/her duties and acts accordingly.

Accountability
No person of integrity tries to shift the blame to others or take credit for the work of others. “The buck stops here” says it best.

Justice
A person of integrity practices justice. Those who do similar things must get similar rewards or similar punishments.

Openness
Professionals of integrity encourage a free flow of information within the organization. They seek feedback from all directions to ensure they are fulfilling key responsibilities, and they are never afraid to allow anyone at any time to examine how they do business.

Self-respect
To have integrity is also to respect oneself as a professional and a human being. A person of integrity does not behave in ways that would bring discredit upon himself/herself or the organization to which he/she belongs.

Humility
A person of integrity grasps and is sobered by the awesome task of defending the Constitution of the United States of America.

THE SECOND CORE VALUE: SERVICE BEFORE SELF

An Airman’s professional duties always take precedence over personal desires.

Service before self tells us that professional duties take precedence over personal desires. At the very least, it includes the following behaviors:

RULE FOLLOWING
To serve is to do one’s duty, and our duties are most commonly expressed through rules. While it may be the case that professionals are expected to exercise judgment in the performance of their duties, good professionals understand that rules have a reason for being – and the default position must be to follow those rules unless there is a clear, operational reason for refusing to do so.

RESPECT FOR OTHERS
Service before self, tells us also that a good leader places the troops ahead of his/her personal comfort. We must always act in the certain knowledge that all persons possess a fundamental worth as human beings.

DISCIPLINE AND SELF-CONTROL
Professionals cannot indulge themselves in self-pity, discouragement, anger, frustration or defeatism. They have a fundamental moral obligation to the persons they lead to strike a tone of confidence and forward-looking optimism. More specifically, they are expected to exercise control in the following areas:

Anger
Military professionals and especially commanders at all echelons are expected to refrain from displays of anger that would bring discredit upon themselves and/or the Air Force.

Appetites
Those who allow their appetites to drive them to make sexual overtures to subordinates are unfit for military service. Likewise, the excessive consumption of alcohol casts doubt on an individual’s fitness.

Religious toleration
Military professionals must remember that religious choice is a matter of individual conscience. Professionals – and especially commanders – must not take it upon themselves to change or coercively influence the religious views of subordinates.

THE THIRD CORE VALUE: EXCELLENCE IN ALL WE DO

Every American Airman strives for continual improvement in self and service.

Excellence in all we do directs us to develop a sustained passion for continuous improvement and innovation that will propel the Air Force into a long-term, upward spiral of accomplishment and performance.

PRODUCT/SERVICE EXCELLENCE
We must focus on providing services and generating products that fully respond to customer wants and anticipate customer needs, and we must do so within the boundaries established by the tax-paying public.

PERSONAL EXCELLENCE
Military professionals must seek out and complete professional military education, stay in physical and mental shape and continue to refresh their general educational backgrounds.

COMMUNITY EXCELLENCE
Community excellence is achieved when the members of an organization can work together to successfully reach a common goal in an atmosphere that is free from fear and that preserves individual self-worth. Some of the factors influencing interpersonal excellence are:

Mutual respect
Genuine respect involves viewing another person as an individual of fundamental worth. Obviously, this means that a person is never judged on the basis of his/her possession of an attribute that places him/her in some racial, ethnic, economic or gender-based category.

Benefit of the doubt
Working hand in glove with mutual respect is that attitude that says all coworkers are innocent until proven guilty. Before rushing to judgment about a person or his/her behavior, it is important to have the whole story.

RESOURCES EXCELLENCE
Excellence in all we do also demands that we aggressively implement policies to ensure the best possible cradle-to-grave management of resources.

Material resources excellence
Military professionals have an obligation to ensure that all of the equipment and property they ask for is mission essential. This means that residual funds at the end of the year should not be used to purchase “nice to have” add-ons.

Human resources excellence
Human resources excellence means that we recruit, train, promote and retain those who can do the best job for us.

OPERATIONS EXCELLENCE
There are two kinds of operations excellence: internal and external.

Excellence of internal operations
This form of excellence pertains to the way we do business internal to the Air Force from the unit level to Air Force Headquarters. It involves respect on the unit level and a total commitment to maximizing the Air Force team effort.

Excellence of external operations
This form of excellence pertains to the way in which we treat the world around us as we conduct our operations. In peacetime, for example, we must be sensitive to the rules governing environmental pollution, and in wartime we are required to obey the laws of war.

The Coast Guard Honor Guard stands in formation before the beginning of the Coast Guard's Veteran's Day wreathlaying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetary.  USCG photo by PA1 Adam EggersUS Coast Guard

  • Honor

Integrity is our standard. We demonstrate uncompromising ethical conduct and moral behavior in all of our personal actions. We are loyal and accountable to the public trust.

  • Respect

We value our diverse work force. We treat each other with fairness, dignity, and compassion. We encourage individual opportunity and growth. We encourage creativity through empowerment. We work as a team.

  • Devotion to Duty

We are professionals, military and civilian, who seek responsibility, accept accountability, and are committed to the successful achievement of our organizational goals. We exist to serve. We serve with pride.