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NEWS | June 1, 2011

JB CHS's Navy Honor Guard

By Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Brannon Deugan, Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs Office

With heads held high, crisp, sharp uniforms and a deep sense of military pride, Sailors of the Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station Honor Guard lead the way in representing their country and Navy through time-honored ceremonies.

Performing at ceremonies and events such as presenting Colors for retirements or honoring fallen comrades at funerals is a full-time job, but for the Sailors of JB CHS - WS, the Honor Guard is a volunteer position and 60 Sailors dedicate their off-duty time to be part of this prestigious group.

"Our Honor Guard is comprised of volunteers that take time from their own busy lives to support events in the local community and for the funeral detail," said JB CHS-WS Navy Honor Guard Coordinator, Culinary Specialist Chief Michael Vira. "To volunteer for the Honor Guard, service members must request to become a part of the Honor Guard through their own chain-of-command."

Sailors with strong military bearing, leaders in setting the example for others and a profound sense of patriotism are encouraged to volunteer.

"We are looking for squared-away Sailors," said CSC Vira. "They need to have an appearance that is within standards, a high level of professionalism and be trained and qualified in the execution of military honors."

Sailors serving in the Honor Guard have the distinct privilege of paying tribute to the fallen and parading the colors for crowds at patriotic ceremonies or sporting events.

"The Color Guard is different from the Funeral Honors Detail because they parade the colors for ceremonies and events other than funerals," said CSC Vira. "The Color Guard has done events on the USS Yorktown at Patriot's Point and at the Charleston RiverDogs minor league baseball games."

"I volunteered for the Honor Guard because it was a great opportunity for me to say thank you to the service men and women that have laid their life on the line for my country, my beliefs and my freedom," said Mineman 2nd Class Robert Dubose, a member of the JB CHS - WS Honor Guard. "Being a part of the Funeral Honors Detail is rewarding because we are an instrumental part in helping families close the final chapter of a loved one's life."

Marching movements, flag folding and the presentation of colors to the next of kin are executed as a team to allow onlookers the chance to witness each member's dedication to the Navy and the United States of America.

"Funeral's are the bulk of the duties required of the Honor Guard," said CSC Vira. "There are two main things each member needs to be fully trained on prior to their first participation in a funeral detail: the proper presentation of colors and folding the flag.

"Flag folding and the presentation of colors to the next of kin are very important for the Honor Guard to perform correctly," he continued. "Military bearing is crucial during these two elements because it is considered disrespectful to show any emotion during these evolutions and execution needs to be perfect since this is an important moment for family and friends to honor their lost loved ones."