It was in the morning that I got word that I may be needed to conduct a special project. This of course sparked my interest and once I dug a little I quickly learned how special it was.

Eight KIA service members were arriving and the Marine Corps needed an escort to receive the warriors and transport the warriors officially as required. To stay general, I drove for about 2 hours to the airfield they were coming into. As we waited for the aircraft to arrive, numerous Honor Guard teams practiced and rehearsed their scheme of maneuver. The Air Force team arrived after the Marines and Army Honor Guard and began to rehearse. All were ready as they had done this many times as recent as last week but only to be out done in numbers last month where they had to escort 25 Hero’s home. I wasn’t nervous but honored to be the first one to help the warriors as they touch

US

soil for the first time.

As I came to the section of the aircraft where the coffins were at, it caught me by surprise to see the perfect flag draped coffins lined up. The first order of business was to inspect the flags for any stains, tears or defects that may taint them. Great care and respect was employed to ensure the very best attention and handing was used with the warriors. Because at least one of the families was on site to receive the remains the Honor Guards moved into place and professionally and accurately carried the remains to the designated vehicle. Once they were in place and the individual family members departed, the Honor Guards returned onto the aircraft to pick up the coffins we had positioned. They all took great care and used gentle handling of each coffin. I was very impressed with the care and respect displayed as the Army EOD technician, US Marine and fellow warriors were carried off the plan. Once the last of the remains were loaded, a final salute was given before we departed and drove back. As we left, I thought of how this event somewhat completes the circle of my deployments. It was an honor to be their escort.

Semper Fi

Capt B

Comments

  1. Thank you Sir for this special service. A Marine pilot friend often flew the incountry flights last year and always said it was a special honor. We will never forget!
    Semper Fi,

  2. I have been on a few funeral details during my time and it was always bitter sweet. A complete downer to have to bury a fellow gyrene but an honor to do so. I always managed to be on coffin detail, those guys on rifle team practiced way too much to get that “one sound” thing down. We always buried whomever as if we were burying our own damn brother. The families always appreciated it, Im sure they did for you as well, Sir.

  3. I find it amazing that men trained to kill, can also have the largest respect for life. God bless you all.
    Semper gratus,
    Donna

  4. I spoke with an Army CAO recently who was handling his first “case”. He said it was the highest honor he could be given and he hoped to do his best for the fallen warrior. Just about reduced me to tears hearing the emotion in his voice.

  5. My condolences to the families. Your loved ones have joined the long line of heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom. They will not be forgotten. Thank you Capt B for being there to meet these warriors as they returned to American soil.

  6. Thank you for the vivid memory, Captain.
    Those Heroes serving the ultimate duty shall be honored, always.

  7. My son is currently stationed at Marine Barracks, 8th and I, Washington, DC. He is one of those privileged to be part of the honor guards who carry their brothers back onto U.S. soil for the first time. He considers it a great honor and always asks me to pray for him and the team that day. Thank you for sharing your part in this one.

  8. I know the job all too well, but not under the conditions you’re operating. For the most part, the soldiers, sailors, and marines I helped send on their way were members of the Greatest Generation. As a funeral detail officer traveling down the coast from Fort Ord to Riverside’s National Cemetary, I made that trip at least twice…and probably conducted on the order of 20-30 funerals in that two week period. I have to concur with the CAO referenced above…it’s a high, high honor.
    I’ve never met families who were more appreciative than the ones I met there in Southern California over 20 years ago. To the mothers, fathers, wives, children and grandchildren I met…thank you for allowing me to be part of your heros’ life. My guys and I were honored to be there for you…
    See you on the high ground!
    MajorDad1984

  9. Thank you, sir, for sharing that very touching story with us….the loss of every lifein this fight for freedom affects all of us….we mourn with the families left behind.R.I.P. each of our lost brothers.Amen.

  10. I don’t know what to say. My heart and tears go out to those families of the fallen, and my thanks go to the men that have defended our way of life. Thank you for sharing this. Such a post reminds me how among all of the liberal idiocy out there true patriotism and love of country resides where it must – – in our American troops. Thank you for the post, and thank you for serving. We all owe the U.S. Military a debt of gratitude that we will never be able to repay during our entire lifetime.

  11. My niece had that duty last year, for several months. She’s a sargent in the army,been in for 20some years. She said that after a while, it was kind of hard to do. The caskets just kept coming,and sometimes the family members wanted to ask questions,and she didn’t have any answers for them.

  12. May our heroes rest in peace. It would be an honor to do one more thing for your fallen brother. Thank you sir for your service and for showing us again how fragile life really is.

  13. My father was given a military funeral. It was hard enough saying goodbye to him but what made me cry even harder was the respect and care he received from the honor guard who stood fast at his coffin, folded the American flag that was draped on his coffin and then kneeled in front of me and presented the folded flag. I felt so proud of him at that moment. That he chose a calling in life that even in his death, his brothers and sisters in arm could treat him with so much respect and reverance. It was truly moving and I am forever grateful.

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