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    NY Air Guard honor guard members provide 2,186 military funerals in 2021



    Story by Eric Durr 

    New York National Guard

    LATHAM, New York—New York National Guard Airmen from six base honor guards expect to provide military funeral services for the families of 2,186 Air Force veterans by the time 2021 comes to an end.

    As of Dec. 21, 2021, New York Air National Guard funeral honor guards had conducted 2,118 military funerals across the state.

    Honor guard officials anticipate conducting another 68 military funeral services by New Year’s Eve.

    There are 112 New York Air National Guard military personnel—25 working full;-time and 87 on a part-time basis—who provide military funeral honors.

    In 2020, New York Air National Guard funeral honors teams conducted 1,685 military funerals.

    This was lower than the 2,043 conducted in 2019 because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, according to honor guard officials.

    A 2000 federal law mandates that former members of the U.S. military who served on active duty or in the reserves and who did not receive a dishonorable discharge are eligible for military funeral.

    At a minimum, these honors are provided by a two person team which plays taps with an electronic bugle, and folds and presents an American flag to the family.

    Retired military personnel and currently serving personnel are entitled to honors which involve more personnel and can include a rifle firing party.
    Military funeral honors are requested through the funeral home which is handling arrangements for a family.

    Airmen are carefully trained before they can be part of a military funeral service.

    Many families decided not to hold a formal burial or funeral in early 2020, and this resulted in fewer than normal funeral missions that year, according to Master Sgt. Terra Martin, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 109th Airlift Wings honor guard at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, New York.

    The 109th Airlift Wing honor guard provides funerals across Eastern New York, Martin said. In 2021, honor guard members drove more than 20,000 miles conducting missions across the region.

    Air National Guard Technical Sgt. Alan Sanchez, who is responsible for the 106th Rescue Wing honor guard at Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach, New York said his team performed services in 2021 that had been deferred during the onset of the pandemic.

    The 106th Rescue Wing honor guard, which conducts funerals at the massive Calverton National Cemetery, provided military funeral honors 650 times in 2021. This was the most of all the New York Air National Guard honors teams.

    The 107th Attack Wing honor Guard Airmen, based at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, coordinate with the Air Force Reserve’s 914th Refueling Wing to provide honor guard services across western New York and into Pennsylvania.

    And while most military honors take place at cemeteries, they can be conducted in other locations.

    The 174th Attack Wing honor guard, based at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, provided military funeral honors for a Vietnam War POW at his vacation home on Wellesley Island in the St. Lawrence River’s Thousand Islands, according to Master Sgt. Donald Anderson, the wing honor guard program manager.

    New York Air National Guard Funeral Honors by Base in 2021:

    • 105th Airlift Wing, Stewart Air National Guard Base, Newburgh: 239 funerals in 2021 and 140 funerals in 2020;
    • 106th Rescue Wing, F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, Westhampton Beach:650 funerals in 2021 and 624 funerals in 2020;
    • 107th Attack Wing/ 914th Airlift Wing, Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, Niagara Falls: 483 in 2021 and 361 in 2020 ;
    • 109th Airlift Wing, Stratton Air National Guard Base, Scotia: 305 in 2021 and 239 in 2020;
    • 174th Attack Wing, Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse: 379 in 2021 and 275 in 2020;
    • Eastern Air Defense Sector, Rome: 62 in 2021, 0 in 2020 (42 requests referred to 174th Attack Wing).



    Date Taken: 12.23.2021
    Date Posted: 12.23.2021 11:05
    Story ID: 411862
    Location: LATHAM, NY, US 

    Web Views: 153
    Downloads: 0