The Honor Guard program is set up in accordance with AFI 34-501, Mortuary Affairs Program. The Guard is a Wing Commander’s program composed of 33 outstanding Airmen from various base squadrons. The 4th Force Support Squadron maintains the program. Team members are assigned to the Honor Guard for a period of 365 days. During this time, members are expected to become proficient in the areas of ball bearing, Firing Party, flag folding, presentation of colors, sabre bearing, presentation of the flag, retreat, positioning of the colors, change of command ceremonies, armed cordon, visiting dignitary honors, and other Wing directed activities. The Air Force Achievement Medal is awarded to members who are proficient in all Honor Guard tasks and exceed the standards in the areas of dress and appearance, attitude, and leadership. Annually, the Honor Guard performs around 900 details, including veteran and retiree funerals, numerous colors details, and a variety of other community service events.
Represent the 4th Fighter Wing by providing services including military honors for deceased military personnel and other ceremonies on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, in the local community and throughout North Carolina and Virginia. Representing the finest traditions of the Air Force and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base … anytime, anywhere.
Honor Guard Creed
Handpicked to serve as a member of the Seymour Johnson AFB, my standards of conduct and level of professionalism must be above reproach, for all others in my service.
Others earned the right for me to wear the ceremonial uniform, one that is honored in a rich tradition and history. I will honor their memory by wearing it properly and proudly.
Never will I allow my performance to be dictated by the type of ceremony, severity of the temperature, or size of the crowd. I will remain superbly conditioned to perfect all movements throughout every drill and ceremony
Obligated by oath I am constantly driven to excel by a deep devotion to duty and a strong sense of dedication.
Representing every member, past and present, of the United States Air Force, I vow to stand sharp, crisp and motionless, for I am a Ceremonial Guardsman.
Requests can be made by contacting the Honor Guard office at DSN 722-7019/7020 or commercial 919-722-7019/7020. Requests can also be sent via fax to 919-722-7021.
Providing military funeral honors is the #1 priority of Honor Guard, giving it precedence over all other requests.
It is imperative to remember that a color guard request may be canceled due to military funerals.
In the event of an emergency, if you have not been able to contact us via office phone or fax, please call the Honor Guard duty cell phone at 919-750-2025. Please follow-up all requests sent via fax with a phone call to either the office phone or the Honor Guard duty cell phone to confirm receipt of your request.
Providing funeral honors is the primary mission of the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Honor Guard program. The Air Force will ensure that, upon request, a funeral honors detail is provided for all eligible members. Base Honor Guards will support protocol and ceremonial functions for military and civilians, time and resources permitting. The military funeral honors mission takes precedence over all ceremonial functions. The wishes of the family regarding the honors elements that are provided are paramount.
Status of Military Service
Present U.S. Flag
Active Duty, Selected Reservists on duty and Recipients of the Medal of Honor – Active duty personnel, members of the Reserve and Air National Guard on duty (on active or inactive duty) and recipients of the Medal of Honor are entitled to full military funeral honors including 20 guardsmen.
Retirees – Air Force members receiving retired pay or members of the Air Force Reserves or National Guard, not Active-Duty status, are entitled to a two-person team. The team will consist of Air Force representatives (officer and/or enlisted) who will fold and present the interment flag and play Taps. Commanders have the authority, based on available resources, to field a seven-person team, which will consist of an OIC or NCOIC and six members who will serve the dual role of pallbearers and firing party. If the family requests support above the two-person team required and the resources are not available to field a seven-person team, additional honors support may be obtained from the authorized providers (Veteran Service Organizations (VSO), retirees, or Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) units, etc.), before requesting support from another Armed Service.
Veterans – Former members of the Air Force, Army Air Corps or Army Air Forces and Women’s Air Forces, whose last service was other than dishonorable and members of a reserve component with a veteran status are eligible to receive military funeral honors made up of three guardsmen.
Civilians – Civilians who served the country during wartime will be provided honors if their remains are interred at Arlington Cemetery.
SJAFB Honor Guard Service Area
Shown below are the counties of North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia that the SJAFB Honor Guard provides services for.
|North Carolina||Alamance||North Carolina||Vance|
|North Carolina||Beaufort||North Carolina||Wake|
|North Carolina||Cabarrus||North Carolina||Warren|
|North Carolina||Carteret||North Carolina||Wayne|
|North Carolina||Caswell||North Carolina||Wilson|
|North Carolina||Chatham||North Carolina||Yadkin|
|North Carolina||Davie||Virginia||Bedford City|
|North Carolina||Forsyth||Virginia||Buena Vista City|
|North Carolina||Halifax||Virginia||Danville City|
|North Carolina||Hyde||Virginia||Galax City|
|North Carolina||Lee||Virginia||Lexington City|
|North Carolina||Martin||Virginia||Lynchburg City|
|North Carolina||Montgomery||Virginia||Martinsville City|
|North Carolina||New Hanover||Virginia||Nottoway|
|North Carolina||Orange||Virginia||Prince Edward|
|North Carolina||Pender||Virginia||Radford City|
|North Carolina||Pitt||Virginia||Roanoke City|
|North Carolina||Rockingham||Virginia||Salem City|
|North Carolina||Rowan||Virginia||South Boston City|
|North Carolina||Stokes||West Virginia||McDowell|
|North Carolina||Surry||West Virginia||Mercer|
We, a party of three, gathered as one, to render honors unto those who have passed on. Standing in the distance, ready to fire, in memory of one who has served with honor. Three volleys are fired, clearing a way, for the soul to follow on this final day. Planting another flower in the garden of stone, three shots in unison, a farewell to our own. A final salute to our uniform member, this lifetime of service we’ll always remember. Firing party, a job with pride, always to be seen, firing party, we are a team!
Today, the tradition of the three volleys continues to be used as a final farewell to a soldier who served this country with pride and honor. The firing party renders this tradition at active duty funerals only. The firing party is placed at a 45 degree angle from the head of the casket. Only active duty and retiree members are entitled to receive the full military honors which includes the Firing Party.
Our mission is to present or post the American, Air Force, State, and POW/MIA Flags at various types of ceremonies. An Air Force Color Team will be composed of two rifle guards and two (or three) flag bearers. The height of the team members should be as closely matched as possible. If there is a noticeable difference in members’ height, the team should be arranged in a manner that is aesthetically pleasing. The NCT (NCOIC of Color Team) is the US National flag bearer and will call all commands from this position. The NCT does not have to be the highest-ranking member of the team. He/she should be the most experienced and qualified member to successfully complete the mission. The NCT is responsible for ensuring all members are well versed on their positions and ceremony sequences as well as making sure members are in proper uniform. All flag bearers within the team will wear flag harnesses, even if they will not be used. The flags should always be carried and displayed in proper order. The order (from front to rear when in column formation and from left to right as the audience views the team when abreast) is as follows:
1. National Emblems (U.S. Flag)
2. State and Territorial Flags
3. Service Flags (Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard)
4. Organizational Flags
5. Personal Colors (Never part of a color team; pre-posted)
The sabre team consists of six guardsmen, with the NCO at the front right of the formation. The sabre is worn by officers and the sword is worn by the NCO.
Other ceremonies we perform include retirements, parades, funerals, change of commands, sporting events, POW/MIA ceremonies, dining outs, and various community events.
The retreat ceremony has two main functions. It signals the end of the duty day and serves as a ceremony for paying respect to the flag. When members, not information are outdoors and in uniform, they must face the flag (if visible) and /or music and stand at parade rest.
When viable, the members lowering the flag should be an NCO and three junior members. The detail is formed up and marched to the front of the flagstaff where the halyards are removed and given to each member lowering the flag. On the first note of the national anthem, the members of the detail not lowering the flag present arms. The members lowering the flag begin in accordance with the playing of the national anthem. The NCO commands the detailed Order, ARMS when the flag is low enough to be received. When at half-staff, the flag is then raised to the staff head before the lowering of the flag begins. The flag is then removed from the halyards and folded. The halyards are then secured back to the staff.
POW/MIA Tables of Honors
You see before you an empty table, set for service but vacant. This table is symbolic of our fallen comrades-in-arms and those whose fate is still unknown.
It is set with eight chairs – one each for the members of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, as well as for Fire Fighters, Police Officers and Civilians.
The table is round, symbolizing our everlasting concern for those still missing. REMEMBER.
The table cloth is white, symbolizing the purity of their intentions in responding to their country’s call to arms. REMEMBER.
The single rose displayed in a vase reminds us of the families and loved ones of our comrades-in-arms who keep the faith awaiting their return. REMEMBER.
The red ribbon tied so prominently on the vase is reminiscent of the red ribbon worn on the lapel and breasts of thousands, bearing witness to their unyielding demand for a proper accounting of our missing. REMEMBER.
A slice of lemon is on the bread plate, symbolic of their bitter fate. REMEMBER.
There is salt upon the bread plate, symbolic of the family’s tears as they wait. REMEMBER.
The glass is inverted, for they cannot toast with us this night. REMEMBER.
The chairs – the chairs are empty – they are not here. REMEMBER.
REMEMBER – all of you served with them and called them comrades, who depended upon their might and aid, and relied upon them, for surely, they have not forsaken you.
U.S. Flag Folding Ceremony
Totally, the flag is folded in two parts reminding us of two parts of life; our birth and death, and our life here and hereafter. The red and white stripes interchange throughout our flag reminding us; in the red, of the blood and hardships of life, and in the white, of the purity and goodness of life. Every life has both red and white. The flag is carefully folded into the shape of the tri-cornered hat. Reminiscent of the hats worn by the soldiers who fought and won the revolution for American independence. The three-fold also reminds Christians of the 3-in-1 of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The red and white are soon folded and only blue and the stars are seen, reminding us of heaven. When our life of red and white is over, may only heaven remain.
The flag folding ceremony represents the same religious principles on which our country was originally founded.
The portion of the flag denoting honor is the canton of blue containing the stars representing states our veterans served in uniform. The canton field of blue dresses from left to right and is inverted only when draped as a pall on casket of a veteran who has served our country honorably in uniform.
In the Armed Forces of the United States, at the ceremony of retreat the flag is lowered, folded in a triangle fold and kept under watch throughout the night as a tribute to our nation’s honored dead. The next morning it is brought out and, at the ceremony of reveille, run aloft as a symbol of our belief in the resurrection of the body.
When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our nation’s motto, “In God We Trust.”
After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington and the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today.
Flag Burning Ceremony: “Ceremony of Final Tribute”
The United Stated Flag Code 36s 176(k) states:
“The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”
1. Only one flag should be used in the ceremony, which is representative of all the flags to be burned in the service. The remainder of the flags collected should be incinerated. A corporate, government, or military incinerator of furnace can usually be found for this purpose.
2. The ceremony should be conducted out-of-doors, preferably in conjunction with a campfire program, and it should be very special.
3. The ceremony involves two color guards, one for the flag currently in use and a special color guard for the flag to be retired from service. Of course, this may be adapted if conditions necessitate.
4. Just before sunset the flag, which has been flying all day, is retired in the normal ceremonial procedure for that location or group.
5. The color guard responsible for the flag receiving the final tribute moves to front and center. The leader should present this color guard with the flag which has been selected for its final tribute and subsequent destruction. The leader should instruct the color guard to “hoist the colors.”
(6) Leader comments: (when the flag has been secured at the top of the pole)
- “This flag has served its nation well and long. It has been worn to a condition in which it should no longer be used to represent the nation.”
- “This flag represents all of the flags collected and being retired from service today. The honor we show here this evening for this one flag, we are showing for all of the flags, even those not physically here.”
7. The leader should:
- Call the group to attention
- Order a salute
- Lead the entire group in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
- Order the flag retired by the Color Guard
- Slowly and ceremoniously lower and then respectfully fold the flag in the customary triangle. Deliver the flag to the leader and then dismiss the group.