How do they pick members of the honor guard?
June 10, 2004 6:55 AM   Subscribe

How does a member of the US military get picked to carry the casket of a former president?

Regardless of your feelings towards a politician, I can imagine no greater military honor than to be That Guy carrying the casket, or folding the flag, or playing Taps on the AutoBugle(tm) at the funeral of a former US President. It must be the equivalent of singing the Star Spangled Banner at the World Series. So who are these people? Are they friends of the family? Sons of Congressmen? Medal of Honor recipients? Are they raised from birth to one day carry the coffin of someone important? Or is it just random?

I guess I'm vaguely aware that it is the job of some members of the military to be present at funerals, professional honor guards or something, so to be there at the funeral of an astronaut or president they must be really good at their jobs.

Any ex-military folks want to chime in? I have no desire to become That Guy, I'm just curious.
posted by bondcliff to Society & Culture (5 answers total)
Here is some information on the military's only farrier - a Colorado native. The article also mentions The Old Guard, where you may get more of the answers you seek.
posted by jazon at 7:46 AM on June 10, 2004

The military Honor Guard in Washington, D.C., is comprised of volunteers from all over the military -- those who demonstrated their capabilities and professionalism at "lower levels" of the military.

They are usually assigned in rotations for certain events -- funerals, parades, receptions, etc.

But for something of this magnitude, I'm sure that virtually every member of the Honor Guard volunteered, and the "best of the best" were selected.

Here's some more information about the mission.
posted by davidmsc at 8:10 AM on June 10, 2004

The marines have a hand picked detatchment called Marine Barracks eighth and I. (named for the street its housed upon.) This is the unit that performs the silent drill exhibition in Washington D.C. so often seen on the news.
Here is there site. Within the unit they have section called body bearers.
posted by keithl at 8:10 AM on June 10, 2004

What happens is they arrange the soldiers in a circle round the coffin , spin the coffin and they pick whoever the coffin points at.
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:49 AM on June 11, 2004

The Old Guard's website is fascinating -- I discovered it when googling for its commander the other day. I thought the specialty platoons were especially interesting.
posted by Vidiot at 5:42 PM on June 13, 2004

« Older Surprise hypodermic needle   |   Tough Pedals Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.