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    Michigan Hosts Large Funeral Honors, Phase 2 Course

    Funeral Honors Flag Folding

    Photo By Angela Simpson | Funeral Honors members practice precision flag-folding at the Fort Custer Training...... read more read more

    LANSING, MI, UNITED STATES

    01.16.2018

    Courtesy Story

    Michigan National Guard

    Chilly winter weather at the Fort Custer Training Center in Augusta, Michigan welcomed the 17 students and trainers who arrived December 3, 2017 for a 40-hour, Phase 2, Funeral Honors course, the largest class on record.

    “I was happy to hear about the large class size,” said Michigan National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais. “I am proud that many Michigan National Guard men and women choose to undergo these intensive training sessions in order to perform this service with a very high level of honor and dignity. It isn’t an easy job, emotionally or physically.”

    The focus for the Phase 2 week of training was specifically on Funeral Honors Drill and Ceremony, Proper Wear of the Ceremonial Uniform, Precision 6-man Flag Folding, and Firing Party skills and etiquette. The Phase 2 candidates learned new skills and rehearsed and re-rehearsed each concept until it was perfect. When the training portion was complete, the students took a written exam and were required to successfully test out, hands-on, each of the following: 2 and 3 Soldier Detail, 6 Soldier Flag Fold, 9 Soldier Casket Detail, Manual of Arms, Drill and Ceremony, and perform a detailed uniform inspection.

    “Midweek, when I walked into the armory dining area being used for the training, it was a beehive of activity,” said Jonathan Allen, Michigan’s Funeral Honors state coordinator. “Every corner of the large room was being used by trainers and trainees working on flag folding, pall bearing, and firing party duties. The room was full of productive training going on, including periodic relaxation and muscle stretch breaks to ease tension from the precise movement training necessary for every part of the process.”
    Each area had a head trainer who kept eyes-on students, ready to provide guidance as the trainees worked to put all of the different aspects of Military Funeral Honors into practice. Trainers were glad to find that they had a class that ran the entire spectrum of experience. Some had supported hundreds of funerals, others had only started the program in the last few weeks.
    Prior to coming to the class, each participant was required to complete the initial, two-day Funeral Honors training in order to learn the basics in a consistent way. From there, each student was paired with a mission-experienced member to maximize learning.
    Sgt. Deandre Fortenberry, from the Lansing area Funeral Honors team and a traditional member of the Michigan National Guard, 631st Troop Command, said he and the other students would study the movements then go back to their rooms in the Fort Custer Education Center to continue practicing. “Seeing that level of dedication was amazing,” he said. Adding, “With the uniform inspections, you quickly learn to recognize the ‘right way’ after your uniforms are detail inspected to ensure proper set up and presentation. It is tedious but I think uniforms are the most important part of the training because in essence, you represent your county with this uniform.”
    The end result of the intensive hours of training and instructors sharing their knowledge, was 100% graduation for the ground-breaking class of 13. In short, all students read about the many aspects of Military Funeral Honors, had the different duties shown to them, practiced performing them, then each candidate demonstrated their knowledge effectively and respectfully.
    One student commented that “learning the correct and proper ways to perform missions has made me better equipped to perform services. Being better equipped means I perform better which means I can better honor the Veteran being buried and the family and friends attending the funeral – that’s what really matters.”
    Another student summed up their experience in the course by saying they felt more confident to go out on missions. That confidence projects as honor and professionalism, which then reflects positively on Funeral Honors as a whole.
    After graduation on Friday, the students dispersed to their respective areas of the state. Some even went out on missions later that day to carry out what they learned in providing Military Honors for Michigan Veterans and their families.
    The following instructors led the class through to successful completion: SGT ALICIA YOUNG, 119TH SUPPORT, CO LEAD INSTRUCTOR, SGT JOSHUA D. ROSE, 1437TH ENG CO TRAINER / EVALUATOR, SSG MICHAEL S. YELDING, 1463RD TRANS CO TRAINER / EVALUATOR, SPC TASHA L. FITZGERALD, 146TH MED BN TRAINER / EVALUATOR, SSG TERRENCE D. DICKINSON, 1071ST MAINT CO MFH NCOIC.

    The following Michigan Honor Guard members completed Phase 2 training, Dec. 8, 2017: From the Lansing area team: SGT DEANDRE L. FORTENBERRY, 631ST TROOP COMMAND; SPC HARRY M. REYNOLDS III, 46 MP CO; SGT CARL LIVINGSTON JR., A CO 3-126 IN RGT. From the Camp Grayling team: SPC BRANDON R. COHOON B CO 3‐126 IN RGT, PFC AUSTIN E. SLOAN 46 MP CO, and SGT WILLIAM B. FOWLER, 1071ST MAINT CO. From Grand Rapids team: PFC JEREMY J. BOSCH, B CO 3‐126 IN RGT and SFC NYIBAL A. ADAMS, B CO 3‐126 IN RGT. From the Detroit team: SPC TA’SEAN C. WOODS, 1433RD ENG CO. From the Saginaw team: SGT DANNY G. POTTER JR., 46 MP CO, PFC JOHN E. MCCOY HR., HHC 1‐125TH IN REGT. From Fort Custer: SPC JOHNATHAN A. BEERMAN, HHC 3 BN 126 IN RGT (*HONOR GRADUATE*); SGT TROY J. ANGELL, 1461ST TRANS CO.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 01.16.2018
    Date Posted: 01.16.2018 12:13
    Story ID: 262187
    Location: LANSING, MI, US 
    Hometown: ALMA, MI, US
    Hometown: AUGUSTA, MI, US
    Hometown: DETROIT, MI, US
    Hometown: GRAND RAPIDS, MI, US
    Hometown: LANSING, MI, US
    Hometown: LUDINGTON, MI, US
    Hometown: SAGINAW, MI, US

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