Spc. Ryan Trantham from the Michigan National Guard’s 156th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, Company C., based in Howell, earned official Honor Guard status after graduating from an Honor Guard training course held at Fort Custer in Augusta, June 17, 2017.
The Michigan Army National Guard, Honor Guard training course, Level 1, Phase II, is 40 hours in length (usually spread across five days) and includes instruction in: Drill and Ceremony, Firing Party, Casket Handling, and Uniform Preparation. To be selected for the course, an applicant must first complete Level 1, Phase I training and then must be selected to attend Phase II. The June 12-17, 2017, Level 1, Phase II course was held at the Fort Custer Training Center in Augusta, Michigan. Sgt. Alicia Young, was the lead course instructor and is the designated Michigan State Military Funeral Honors Instructor coordinator. Each course is somewhat customized based on the skills of the candidates but every course enhances a candidate’s abilities to provide Military Funeral Honors for Veterans in Michigan in some way. An honor guard is defined as a ceremonial unit, usually military in nature and composed of carefully screened and trained volunteers. The rendering of Military Funeral Honors for an eligible Veteran is free of charge as mandated by law. An honor guard detail for the burial of an eligible Veteran consists of not less than two members of the Armed Forces. One member of the detail shall be a representative of the parent Service of the deceased Veteran. The honor detail will perform a ceremony that includes the folding and presenting of the American flag to the next of kin and the playing of Taps either by bugler or by electronic recording. The Veteran’s parent Service representative will present the flag.
The most well-known Honor Guard stands in Washington D.C. at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.