I’ve trained with Base Honor Guards (BHGs) for around two decades, I know the relaxed atmosphere that can creep into training- but you can let it! You MUST keep aware and practice every time like it’s the real thing, no matter what you are practicing. Having said that, here is a picture of a BHG that is lowering its standards just by tucking the flag into the end of the casket. Please, don’t do this.
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The DrillMaster Education and Training System: Honor Guard Training- The Honor Guard Manual
The Honor Guard Manual is the only complete published manual for police, firefighter, EMS, cadet, veteran and fraternal honor guard units. Based on the joint service standard with much of the standard being from the Air Force Honor Guard, this manual is the culmination of my training with the USAF Honor Guard, 17+ years of honor guard duty with Base Honor Guard units around the world and 2 years of extensive research and writing.
Detailed text and dozens of pictures fully explain all movements for any honor guard unit. There are lesson plans at the back of the book and also complete training documents that, when you purchase the book, you are then authorized to own and use the electronic version of the documents by contacting me. I then send the documents to you in PDF.
Honor Guard Training
Do you want the training that goes along with The Honor Guard Manual? The DrillMaster offers a 16-hour Honor Guard Clinic, 40-hour Honor Guard Academy and 80-hour Honor Guard Academy. Click here for more info.
The Honor Guard Manual Table of Contents PREFACE FOR THE HONOR GUARDSMAN.. 5
TABLE OF CONTENTS. 9
CHAPTER 1: THE CEREMONIAL UNIFORM.. 14
Ceremonial Cover 14
How to Form a Beret 14
Ceremonial Blouse (Jacket/Coat) 15
How to “Blouse” a Blouse. 18
Ceremonial Belt 18
Ceremonial Trousers/Slacks. 19
USAF Base Honor Guard Travel Uniform.. 21
Rain Cap Cover 21
White Gloves. 22
Ceremonial Rain Coat/Overcoat 22
The Necktie. 22
CHAPTER 2: STANDING MANUAL. 26
Properties of a Command Voice. 27
Standing Manual 29
The Rest Positions. 32
Facing Movements (Executed Only From Attention) 39
Inspecting the Honor Guard. 46
Formation Alignment 54
Arm Swing. 58
CHAPTER 3: COLORS. 62
General Information. 62
Joint Service Order 64
Flag Precedence Matrix. 67
The Code for the Christian Flag. 68
Everything You Need to Know About a Flagstaff 69
All About Colors (Flags) 71
Color Team Sizing. 73
Manual of the Flagstaff 74
Manual of Arms (Colors Rifle Guard Movements) 89
The M1 Garand. 89
The M14. 90
The M1903. 91
Manual of the Firefighter’s Ceremonial Pike Pole. 126
Manual of the Firefighter’s Ceremonial Fire Axe. 148
Colors at the Full Honors Funeral 179
Color Team Movement 180
Posting and Presenting the Colors: 189
Personal Colors. 201
Furling/Casing and Uncasing/Unfurling. 201
Unfurling Sequence for a Color Team.. 204
Furling Sequence for a Color Team.. 205
The Manual of the Guidon. 207
CHAPTER 4: FIRING PARTY. 214
General Information. 214
Firing Party Movements. 215
CHAPTER 5: PALLBEARERS. 234
Full Honors Funeral 234
Flag Folding Sequence. 245
Inspection of the Flag. 260
The Full Dressing Sequence. 261
The Half Dressing Sequence. 264
Using a Caisson. 266
Modified Funeral 268
Two-Man Flag Fold. 269
Inspection of the Flag. 279
A Funeral with Cremated Remains. 279
Casket Watch. 281
Initial Setup Procedures. 281
Changing of the Guard Procedures. 283
Final Watch Procedures. 285
CHAPTER 6: BUGLER INFORMATION.. 288
The Manual of the Bugle. 289
CHAPTER 7: FUNERAL SEQUENCES. 294
Full Honors Funeral 294
Standard Honors Funeral 294
Military Veteran Funeral 295
Suggested Chapel Setup. 296
Military Working Dog Memorial Ceremony. 296
CHAPTER 8: RETREAT/REVEILLE CEREMONY. 298
Fixed Flag Poles. 298
Example for a Retreat Ceremony: 299
CHAPTER 9: CORDON PROCEDURES. 306
CHAPTER 10: SABER (SWORD) MANUAL AND CORDON.. 310
MANUAL OF THE SABER (SWORD) 314
MARCHING MANUAL OF THE SWORD. 320
CHAPTER 11: OTHER CEREMONIES. 326
POW/MIA Hat Table Ceremony. 326
Fallen Warrior Ceremony. 329
Firefighter’s Bell (Last Alarm) Ceremony. 331
Fire Fighter’s Prayer 331
Flag Burning Ceremony. 332
Brittany, France American Military Cemetery Setup. 334
CHAPTER 12: MANUAL OF THE DRUM MAJOR MACE. 336
Mace Nomenclature. 336
CHAPTER 13: MANUAL OF THE DRUM MAJOR MILITARY SIGNAL BATON.. 338
To many in the honor guard world the term casket watch, is an unknown term. That is unless you are on an LEO, firefighter or EMS honor guard. These members have known of and performed a casket watch for many years for their fallen. Let’s get into what casket watch is and how it is performed.
There are three parts to a casket watch:
Watch Guard Entrance/Initial Post
Watch Guard Change
Watch Guard Final Watch
The members of the casket watch are:
Watch Members (These members can be specifically identified, if you choose)
If selected as part of the funeral protocol, two unarmed or armed (rifle, sword/saber, fire axe or pike pole) Honor Guard members watch over the casket of the fallen during the viewing or wake. In most cases these members take their positions at the foot and head of the casket at Attention/Stand at Ease. Depending on the duration of the viewing or wake, watch shifts established. The Watch Commander (WC) can be armed with a sidearm. If a WC is not present, either of the watch guards will call the commands. Armed/unarmed does not matter.
Watch Guard Initial Post
At the beginning of the first watch, two guards and the Watch Commander (WC) enter the room (from either side or the front) where the watch is taking place. For this manual we will assume an entrance from the front. All commands are subdued. No facing movements (except Three-Count About Face) or flanking. (If unarmed, ignore weapon commands.)
The Watch Guards and the Watch Commander enter the room and form up at the back of the chapel at Attention. The WC gives the subdued commands, Port, ARMS and, Step, and all three members begin marching toward the casket at Slow Time (60-90 steps per minute).
Within approximately four steps of the casket the WC gives the command Mark, TIME, beginning on a left step and ending on the next right step. On the next left step all three members begin their mark time. The WC calls, Guards, HALT on two consecutive left steps and the team halts (see the Colors Turn-halt for this). Alternativelywhen WGs are within four steps of the casket, the WC can call a long HAAAAAAAAALT on a left step and all members can then bring their right foot alongside the left and come to Attention.
The WC commands, Present, ARMS, and all three salute (with a three-second count up and down).
The WC commands, Port ARMS (or Order, ARMS if unarmed), and all three drop their salutes. Upon assuming Port/dropping their salutes, both watch guards then step off and move directly to their positions in the same amount of steps without flanking.
When each guard arrives, they simultaneously execute a Three-Count About Face and assume Stand At Ease.
The WC executes a silent salute, executes a modified Three-Count About Face (“T”, “L” Step) and departs.
The time between changes of the guard is entirely up to you. It is an honor to stand watch over a fallen comrade and as many who would like to should be given the opportunity.
NOTE: When changing Watch Guards, the guards should NOT salute each other, they are to only salute the flag/deceased.
The new Watch Guards and the Watch Commander enter the room and form up at Attention. The WC gives the commands, Port ARMS and Step, and all three members begin marching toward the casket at Slow Time (60-90 steps per minute).
Within approximately four steps of the casket the WC gives the command Mark, TIME, beginning on a left step and ending on the next right step. On the next left step all three members begin their mark time. The WC calls, Guards, HALT on two consecutive left steps and the team halts (see the Colors Turn-halt for this). When the new watch halts, the current watch come to Attention on the command of the guard at the head of the casket.
The WC commands, Present, ARMS, and all three salute. DO NOT SALUTE EACH OTHER, the salute is for the flag.
The WC commands, Port ARMS, and all three drop their salutes (for the salutes, the WC executes his/her salute with a three-second count). Upon assuming Port/dropping their salutes, both of the current watch guards then step off and move directly to their positions next to and outside of the new watch in the same amount of steps without flanking and execute a three-count about face. At the same time, the new watch moves directly to their positions at the head and foot of the casket, replacing the current watch. When all guards reach their spots, they all salute, on command and after dropping their salutes, and simultaneously execute a modified Three-Count About Face (“T”, “L” Step) and depart.
Casket Watch Guard Change: Entrance
Casket Watch Guard Change: New Guards Posted
Casket Watch Guard Change: Old Guards Move Inward
Casket Watch Guard Change: Old Guards and WC Salute Flag and Depart
Watch Guard Final Watch
The Final Watch ceremony can be used before the pall bearers enter the room to retrieve the casket for transportation to the burial site.
The WC enters the room and marches to a position approximately six paces from the casket, halts and gives a silent salute.
When the WC drops his salute, he calls the guards to Attention and each guard automatically posts in front of the WC to each side and simultaneously executes a Three-Count About Face.
The WC commands, Present, ARMS, and all three salute.
The WC commands, Port, ARMS, (Order ARMS, if unarmed) and all three drop their salutes and simultaneously execute a modified Three-Count About Face (“T”, “L” Step) and depart.
Final Watch: WC Arrival
Final Watch: Final Salute of the Flag
Final Watch: Departure
Why doesn’t the military perform Casket Watch?
The simple answer: it isn’t tradition. The only exception is in special circumstances like when a president dies and lies in state at the rotunda of the Capitol building.
All information and images are from The Honor Guard Manual (DrillMaster Press, 2012) and are (c) John K. Marshall
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