☷Fort Lee Soldiers train to deliver the last full measure of respect
U.S. Army ( By Press Release office)
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Funeral honors detail Soldiers move a casket toward a church truck after removing it from a vehicle during an April 28 practice session at Training Area 23 . A 20 - Soldier detail is always on duty here , covering funerals and memorial services within a 600 - mile radius of Fort Lee . ( U . S . Army photo by T . Anthony Bell ) FORT LEE , Va . – Of all the additional duties Soldiers perform over the course of their career , few are more meaningful than the funeral honors detail , a deeply felt opportunity to pay “the last full measure of respect” to fallen veterans and active duty military personnel . Properly performing the function is all about precision – the type that can only be achieved through countless practice walkthroughs of the steps required to execute the time - honored expressions of a grateful nation: the playing of “Taps;” preparing and presenting the colors to next of kin; firing weapons during a gun salute; and acting as pallbearers as required . The Fort Lee Casualty Assistance Center is responsible for the funeral honor details here . Amber Hendricks is the CAC’s memorial affairs coordinator/casualty trainer . Sgt . 1st Class Christopher Salisbury is the CAC noncommissioned officer in charge . Both are responsible for setting up and overseeing the practice sessions for military personnel tasked with the duty . Newly assigned members of the Fort Lee Funeral Honors Detail prepare to fire a mock volley of shots during an April 28 training session . Soldiers assigned to the detail practice every step of military funerals and memorial services to ensure fallen active duty troops and veterans receive sendoffs commensurate with their service . ( U . S . Army photo by T . Anthony Bell ) Sgt . 1st Class Waldemar Paoli IV , Delta Company , 832nd Ordnance Battalion , salutes a flagged - draped casket during a funeral honors detail practice session conducted April 28 at Training Area 23 . Soldiers assigned to the detail undergo five days of focused instruction prior to performing the duties at an actual ceremony . ( U . S . Army photo by T . Anthony Bell ) Twenty Soldiers per month serve on the detail . The CAC rotates the requirement every 30 days amongst installation units . The outgoing Soldiers are responsible for training the teams replacing them . Training is conducted the last five business days of the month . Day one is mostly administrative , and “teams are oriented on preforming both abbreviated military honors ( a 2 - 3 Soldier detail ) and full military honors ( 7 - 8 Soldier detail ) ” during days two and three , Hendricks said . “They also walk through plane - side honors and memorize the verbiage for the flag presentation to the next of kin . ” Team members perform live honors on the fourth day , even firing blank rounds to perfect the gun salute , according to Hendricks . Day five is reserved for wrap - up training and Soldiers are required to bring in their assembled dress uniforms for final adjustments and inspection . Certification of each individual’s ability to perform all detail functions is the final step . “It’s a very controlled and practiced process that is so important and vital to the mission , ” Salisbury said , “because , if you’ve ever served and know what it means to serve , it’s imperative you show family members that lasting impression their loved ones honored their country and they are deserving of respect . ” Staff Sgt . Patty Gardiner , Bravo Company , 16th Ordnance Battalion , helps to fold the American Flag during funeral honors detail practice April 28 at Training Area 23 . Gardiner volunteered for the extra duty , saying participation increases her appreciation for military service and “makes me feel like this is something bigger than myself . ” ( U . S . Army photo by T . Anthony Bell ) Throughout the course of the month , Salisbury further elaborated , detail teams typically participate in 30 - 45 abbreviated and full - honor memorial ceremonies and funerals within a radius of roughly 600 miles . Requests for funeral honors details are such that it can overwhelm installations in close proximity to the deceased , he also said , “but if we’re available , we’ll be there to serve . ” Staff Sgt . Patty Gardiner from Bravo Company , 16th Ordnance Battalion , was among the group of incoming personnel during an April 28 training session . The Soldier of nine years pointed out that she wasn’t directed to be there , but rather volunteered for it . “I think it’s an honor to be present as a member of the U . S . Army and to show how much we care for those who have served , ” said the native of Palau . “It’s an honor to recognize the fallen and remember who they are , and it makes me feel like this is something bigger than myself . ” Sgt . 1st Class Waldemar Paoli IV from Delta Company , 832nd Ordnance Battalion , presents a folded U . S . flag to a fellow service member during a funeral honors detail practice session April 28 at Training Area 23 . The detail typically performs 30 - 45 funeral and memorial service events each month . ( U . S . Army photo by T . Anthony Bell ) Salisbury , who is close to retirement , shared Gardiner’s sentiment . “I think it’s one of the most honorable things I’ve ever done in my life , ” he said . “It’s amazing . I love doing it . I actually started my career doing this as a young private , and I’m finishing it the same way . A lot has changed , but it’s up to us to make sure veterans and active duty service members – anyone who has served – get a dignified farewell . ” According to Public Law 106 - 65 , any eligible veteran can receive a military funeral honors ceremony . For more information about the funeral honors program , call the Casualty Assistance Center at 804 - 734 - 6606 or visit home . army . mil/lee/index . php/about/Garrison/directorate - human - resources/casualty - assistance . Information also is available thru the U . S . Department of Veteran Affairs website at www . cem . va . gov/military_funeral_honors . asp .
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