Earlier this year, three Tribal Police officers completed their Honor Guard training, which teaches them proper ceremony for an officer funeral. This includes movement from the church to the hearse, then from the hearse to the gravesite, and finally a song and rifle party, concluding with folding and offering of the flag.
“They never get easier,” said Tribal Police Officer James Ivy, one of the officers who participated. He previously served in the United States Marine Corps and was part of their Honor Guard.
Officers Richard Newcomer and Jacob Stark also completed Honor Guard Training this year. The photos you see featured are from their graduation. Graduation included a complete mock funeral. Graduates carried an empty casket, performed the ceremonial shots and song, and even presented an American flag to a mock family member.
“The mock ceremony felt real,” Ivy said. “It was about as real as it could get for training.”
The song performed at an honors funeral is played on a trumpet or bugle. The rifle party is what’s often confused with a 21-gun salute. Ivy explains that only presidents and prime ministers receive them. A rifle party is a 3-volley salute (ready, aim, fire) by participating service members—usually between three and seven—in which they fire blanks.
Each graduate received a certificate of completion and can now participate in a full honors funeral for a service member.
“It’s just a good way for us to honor our brothers and sisters,” Ivy said. “I’m glad we’re doing it. I’m proud to be part of it.”