Commentary

September 7, 2012

We take honor in laying our fallen veterans to rest

Tags:
by BU2 Marco Valdovinos
Navy Operation Support Center funeral honor team
marco
BU2 Marco Valdovinos is charged with overseeing the 28-member funeral honor team based at the Navy Operation Support Center Moreno Valley, Calif. Their duties entail presenting honors at the funerals of fallen veterans throughout the southern Calif. regions. The team conducts an estimated 1,450 Navy funerals in a fiscal year, number two in the Nation. (U.S. Air Force photo / Darnell Gardner)

For most, the start of their duty day brings about a new beginning, a new chapter in life; however, for those in my line of duty, it closes a chapter by putting the kindred souls of our nation’s heroes to rest. I oversee a funeral honors team of 28 members who, when called upon, stand ready to present honors at the funerals of fallen veterans in the southern Calif. region.

On an average day, I wake-up to the buzzing of my alarm clock around 5:30 a.m. While preparing for work, the days tasks that I will have to face, cycle through my subconscious. As I make my commute to the Navy Operational Support Center-Moreno Valley, Calif., calls start coming in pertaining to funeral task assignments and family members requesting assistance.

I muster (check in) at the office no later than 7:30 a.m. After which, I fulfill my daily physical training requirement, shower and then hurry back to my desk to check emails to review and confirm times, dates and places for the day’s funeral assignments.

Upon confirmation of the funeral arrangements, I arrange a team using a selection process mandated by Navy regulation. In most cases, assigned members will have the rate and rank of the fallen veteran. Next, I conduct an in-depth inspection of uniforms (from cover to shoe) and grooming, to ensure we represent our Navy veterans with class, dignity, and professionalism. As a precautionary measure, I pack backup supplies such as white gloves, ascots and aiguillettes because they are easily forgotten or unintentionally spoiled.

With appointments set, families notified and funeral homes readied, members receive their briefs and then dispatch to their location of responsibility. Once at the funeral site, they prepare for duties involving folding the flag, and the playing of taps confirming the gravesite. Prior to the actual ceremony, members take time to meet and greet family members of the veteran.

It is a very somber moment as the ceremony commences while those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, are eternally laid to rest.

At the conclusion of the funeral, we regroup and debrief the results of the service and, if needed, discuss ways to improve our next presentation, to ensure veterans families are fully satisfied with our performance. Once finished, we immediately transition to stand-by status and prepare for the next funeral, which in some cases can be as quick as 30 minutes after the last one.

Some days are easier than others, but we can never become immune to the tears of families in mourning. We cannot be oblivious to the pain of the families, because we know of their sacrifice; they just lost a loved one who fought to keep this country free.

As for me, there is no more gratifying duty than serving on the funeral honor team.

The Navy Funeral Honor Guard in Riverside Navy Operational Support-Moreno Valley conducts an estimated 1,450 Navy funerals in a fiscal year, which ranks number two in the Nation.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Tammy_Duckworth,_official_portrait,_113th_Congress

Knowing the facts: National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran, was deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard in 2004. One of the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Fr...
 
 

452nd felt early frost in Cold War

(Ninth in an 11-part series that was first run in the Beacon in 2007) Two weeks after the D-Day invasion, 47 B-17s from the 452nd Bombardment Group and other Army Air Forces units were destroyed by German aircraft at a largely undefended Russian airfield. The attack, which began about 12:30 a.m. June 22, 1944, destroyed...
 
 

Air Force to implement TDY policy changes

The Air Force recently implemented two TDY policy changes that will impact travel reimbursements for Airmen. The first change, which took effect Oct. 1, made changes to the Joint Travel Regulations, Reimbursable and Incidental Expense Policy. The second will be a change in long-term TDY per diem expenses and take effect Nov. 1. Under the...
 

 
running

Lacing up: Finding your ‘WooHoo’ moment

U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard For those who run with me, they know I can get a bit noisy. A celebratory “WooHoo” is a must at the start of taking any hill. The drumbeat of sneakers on the pavement, labore...
 
 
Dom-Violence-Aware-Month-photo

Domestic Violence awareness Month: How to help a friend who is being abused

Here are some ways to help a friend who is being abused: •Set up a time to talk. Try to make sure you have privacy and won’t be distracted or interrupted. •Let your friend know you’re concerned about her safety. Be hone...
 
 
(Courtesy photo/Joe Mora)

Shadowy figure blocks exit to room in March Field building

(Courtesy photo/Joe Mora) A camera captures what appears to be a shadowy figure (left side) sitting in one of several chairs lined up against a wall in a building on March Air Reserve Base Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. The image wa...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin