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Base Honor Guard Training Picture

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.

Luke AFBHG Pall Bearers

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The DrillMaster Education and Training System: The Honor Guard Manual

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Honor Guard Training in your Hands!

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

MINDSET. 5

FORWORD. 6

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. 8

TABLE OF CONTENTS. 9

CHAPTER 1: THE CEREMONIAL UNIFORM.. 14

Ceremonial Cover 14

How to Form a Beret 14

Ceremonial Blouse (Jacket/Coat) 15

Aiguillette. 16

How to “Blouse” a Blouse. 18

Ceremonial Belt 18

Ceremonial Trousers/Slacks. 19

Shoes/Boots. 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

Marching. 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

Half-Staff 304

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

DrumMajor.net 337

CHAPTER 13: MANUAL OF THE DRUM MAJOR MILITARY SIGNAL BATON.. 338

Military Signal Baton Nomenclature. 338

Military Baton Signals. 339

CHAPTER 14: ETIQUETTE. 366

CHAPTER 15: TROOP COMMANDER FUNERAL RESPONSIBILITIES. 368

CHAPTER 16: HISTORY AND TRADITIONS. 372

CHAPTER 17: HONOR GUARD MEMBER TRAINING.. 382

Honor Guard Member Training Documentation. 383

The Honor Guard Training Record. 384

Sample Master Task Listing/Master Training Plan. 398

How to Train using this Manual 403

CHAPTER 18: EQUIPMENT LIST. 405

CHAPTER 19: Good-To-Know.. 407

Water 407

Sample Honors Request Worksheet 409

The Honor Guard Drill Team.. 410

Forming a Team.. 410

Information. 410

Equipment 410

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Casket Watch

Casket Watch Procedures

From my book, The Honor Guard Manual.

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:

  1. Watch Guard Entrance/Initial Post
  2. Watch Guard Change
  3. Watch Guard Final Watch

The members of the casket watch are:

  1. Watch Commander
  2. 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.)

  1. 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).
  2. 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). Alternatively when 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.
  3. The WC commands, Present, ARMS, and all three salute (with a three-second count up and down).
  4. 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.
  5. When each guard arrives, they simultaneously execute a Three-Count About Face and assume Stand At Ease.
  6. The WC executes a silent salute, executes a modified Three-Count About Face (“T”, “L” Step) and departs.

 

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Casket Watch Procedures

Casket Watch Initial Posting: Arrival

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Casket Watch Procedures

Casket Watch Initial Posting: Guards Posting

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Casket Watch Procedures

Casket Watch Initial Posting: Guards and WC turn together, WC departs

Watch Guard Change

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.

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. The WC commands, Present, ARMS, and all three salute. DO NOT SALUTE EACH OTHER, the salute is for the flag.
  4. 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.

  1. The WC enters the room and marches to a position approximately six paces from the casket, halts and gives a silent salute.
  2. 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.
  3. The WC commands, Present, ARMS, and all three salute.
  4. 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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