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HONOR GUARD HANDBOOK AND GUIDELINES 

TYLER CATES AMERICAN LEGION POST 281  

          Revised 12/2023
                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                       

TABLE OF CONTENTS 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment 1 – Post 281 Expense and Reimbursement Request Form
Attachment 2 – U. S. Flag Folding Procedures
Attachment 3 – Title 4 USC – The Flag
Attachment 4 – Army Donations Program Office Letter and Inventory Form
Attachment 5 – Post Storage Unit Inventory Form

 

Mission Statement for Post 281 Honor Guard: 

The primary mission of the Honor Guard is to provide military honors to deceased veterans who would otherwise not receive these honors. 

 Support the veteran and community oriented activities of Post 281 through posting colors, etc. 

 Support the veteran oriented local government and business activities as deemed appropriate by the Honor Guard Captain and the Post Commander. 

Honor Guard Uniform

The Honor Guard Captain must be made aware of any proposed purchase and make note on the receipt that the purchase is for Honor Guard uniform items.

Honor Guard uniform items may be ordered through the American Legion Flag and Emblem catalog or through emblem.legion.org.  Some items may be ordered through the Uniform Warehouse catalog or through UniformW.com

Once the items are received the member should submit the completed Expense and Reimbursement Request Form and paid, initialed receipt, which should contain the description of the item/items and total cost to the Post 281 Finance Officer. 

Attachment 1 – Post 281 Expense and Reimbursement Request Form 

Uniform cap
The blue service cap shall have the Tennessee Old Hickory emblem on the front of the cap. The Honor Guard patch shall be affixed to the upper right hand side of the cap.

This item will be purchased by the member.

Uniform shirts
White shirts both long and short sleeve will have shoulder epaulets and button flap pockets. Affixed to the shirt will be small American Legion collar pins, above the left pocket the name plate and service pin. An M-1 Garand pin may be attached to the left pocket flap. The Honor Guard patch will be sewn on the
upper left sleeve and the branch of service patch will be sewn on the upper right sleeve. A yellow rope will be attached to the left shoulder epaulet. The American Legion blue tie will be worn with both short and long sleeve shirts. (Such that the tie ends as close to the belt buckle as possible)

Uniform slacks 
Navy blue slacks will be worn with a white web belt and gold military  buckle. (Such that the tab is as close to the buckle as possible)

 This item will be purchased by the member.

Uniform gloves
White cotton ceremonial gloves in light weight or winter weight will be worn.

Shoes
Black shoes (preferably polished or patent leather) will be worn.

This item will be purchased by the member.

Uniforms coats 
The blue waist jacket can be worn with or without the lining, and will have the Honor Guard patch sewn to the left front of the jacket. The American Legion patch will be sewn to the upper right sleeve and the
U.S. flag will be sewn on the upper left sleeve. The name tag will be affixed to the left front of the jacket.
The all-weather rain coat can be worn with or without the lining, with the large American Legion pin affixed to the right collar and the branch of service pin affixed to the left collar.

Planning and Scheduling a request for Military Honors

Generally the funeral home who is handling the funeral arrangements will contact the Honor Guard Captain or a designated Honor Guard member.  The following information must be obtained:  Date and time the Honor Guard needs to be in place.  Name, age and branch of service of the deceased veteran.  Name of the funeral home, and Location where the military honors will be rendered. 

Note: The military requires a form DD214 or other proof of service and honorable discharge to authorize the use of the U.S. flag and military honors. 

Optionally: Print and enclose instructions in a Post 281 envelope, for family members wanting to submit a request for a Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC). Instructions and Application

Funeral Procedures for Military Honors

  • The Honor Guard Captain or designated member will insure the weapons are loaded and are in proper working order.  
  • Arrive at the funeral site at least 30 minutes prior to the ceremony.
  • The Honor Guard Captain or designated member will meet with the service members from the military branch assigned to fold/present the flag and play taps. The Honor Guard team will follow the lead of the military service members.
  • The proper location for the team to fire from will be determined by the Honor Guard Captain based on safety and military protocol.
  •  The Honor Guard Captain or designated member will call the commands to accomplish the firing in a military manner.

Description of Military Commands at the discretion of the Honor Guard Captain

The Honor Guard will Fall In at parade rest.
 Call to Attention and Present Arms when the hearse is approaching.
Order Arms and Parade Rest when the hearse stops.
Attention and Present Arms when the casket is removed from the hearse.
Order arms when the casket is placed at the grave site.
Call to Attention and Port Arms when the lead military member salutes the casket or the flag is opened and “popped”. 

Firing commands: 

Ready (half step forward with left foot)
Aim
Fire (Retract weapon to port arms, but do not move left foot)
Aim
Fire (second shot) (Retract weapon to port arms, but do not move left foot)
Aim
Fire (third shot) (Retract weapon to port arms and retract left foot)
Present arms while Taps is played.

Closing commands: 

Order Arms after the playing of Taps is complete.
Present Arms while the flag is presented to the next of kin.
Order Arms after military service members leave the service area. Fall Out (quietly retrieve the brass)
After brass is collected, Fall In, Attention, Right/Left Face, Port Arms, Forward March, Route Step March.

The team will march back to the vehicle, while the Honor Guard Captain or designated member delivers the spent brass to the funeral home or family representative. 

Flag Folding Procedures and Playing Taps

Two Honor Guard members may fold the U.S. flag during a funeral ceremony. The flag will be draped on the coffin with the blue field at the head of the casket and to the left shoulder. The member at the head of the casket will be the one providing the silent commands regarding taking possession of the flag and controlling the folds.  The member at the foot of the casket will fold the flag and present it to the lead member. The folding member will salute the flag and step back. The lead member will present the flag to the designated next of kin and recite the condolence as designated by the veteran’s branch of service. After which, the Honor Guard member will take one step back, come to attention and salute the flag and slowly return to attention. Both members will then depart the area in a military manner. 

Attachment 2 – U. S. Flag Folding Procedures 

An Honor Guard member may play Taps using the electronic bugle. Prior to the service, the bugle will be checked to ensure the batteries are good. The member will take a position as appropriate to the location of the service. Taps will be played after the three round volley.

 Posting/Retrieving Colors

Posting of colors, the U. S. flag and the American Legion flag, requires a minimum of 4 Honor Guard members. The Color Guard team will be in the following order, viewing, from left to right in line formation: guard,     U. S. flag bearer (Color Guard Sergeant)American Legion flag bearer and guard. In column formation the order is the same from front to rear.  

The Color Guard will Fall In at parade rest until they are directed by the command Color Guard, Colors Post. The Color Guard Sergeant will call, Color Guard, Attention (flag bearers bring staffs to the carry position, guards come to right shoulder arms) and Color Guard, Forward, March. The team will march to the place where the flags will be posted and come to mark time and by command or silently turn in place to face the stands. Mark time until the Color Guard Sergeant calls Color Guard, Halt.  At the command Post, the flags are placed in their respective stands. (U.S. flag to the left as viewed)  Both flag bearers will face the flags and take 1 step back into formation and the Color Guard Sergeant calls Present Arms. The Color Guard will hold the salute through the playing of the National Anthem or other patriotic song. After the song, or not, the Color Guard Sergeant calls Order Arms (guards return to right shoulder). Facing commands as needed and Color Guard, Forward, March.  

In retrieving the colors consider the direction of the departure to determine where the Color Guard Sergeant should be in a column formation. The Color Guard Sergeant gives the command “Color Guard, Retrieve the Colors ” again, march to the posted flags. When they are in position they will Present, Arms. Upon the command Order Arms the flag bearers will retrieve the flags and guards return to right shoulder arms.  Without any facing movements while the colors are at ‘carry’, the Color Guard will depart the area in a military manner. 

For additional information regarding U. S. Flag protocol see the attached Title 4 USC.

Attachment 3Title 4 USC – The Flag

Weapons/Ammunition Security, Storage, Maintenance and Return

The weapons are currently stored in a climate controlled rental storage facility. The weapons are in a gun safe within the storage unit. Access to the storage unit is limited to 3 Honor Guard members with key access to the storage unit and the combination to the gun safe. 

A log is maintained regarding the number of times each rifle is fired. The rifles are cleaned periodically as needed, per the “M1 Garand Operation, Safety and Maintenance Guide”. This guide is maintained in the gun safe with the rifles. 

Per the TACOM Army website the receiving organization (Post 281) is responsible for any repair or parts to the rifles.

To return rifles Post 281 should contact: “The Army Donations Program Office”. www.tacom.army.mil 

The rifles are required to be inventoried every 3 years in March, with the last inventory being March 2023. The completed inventory form must be sent to: 

USATACOM LCMC 
ATTN: AMSTA-LCL-IFD, M/S: 419D
6501 E. 11 Mile Road 
Detroit Arsenal, MI 48397-5000

 The inventory forms are located with the M1 Maintenance Guide in the gun safe. 

Attachment 4 – Army Donations Program Office Letter and Inventory Form 

Ammunition/Clip Ordering Procedures

Ammunition is ordered by completing AMSJM Form 725-1, Apr 2021

Clips are ordered by completing AMSJM Form 725-2, Jan 2021. 

Blank forms contain mailing information and are located in the M1 Maintenance Guide in the gun safe. 

Storage Unit 

The storage unit contract and monthly payment are taken care of by the Post 281 Finance Officer.

Attachment 5Post Storage Unit Inventory Form