background image

SRFD Honor Guard Receives Training at National Academy

Members of the Salt River Fire Department Honor Guard (LtoR) Xavier Martinez, Dustin Zamboni, Ray Martinez, Eliseo Carrillo and Daniel Schuelke. Submitted by Ray Martinez

Members of the Salt River Fire Department Honor Guard recently attended the National Honor Guard Academy in Rowlett, Texas, for a unique style of training at the highest level in all matters pertaining to honor guard functions. It was the first Native American fire department honor guard to graduate from this training program.

“This was made possible with all the support and blessings from all our Community leaders, as well as the chief of the [Salt River] Fire Department, Daryl Dash,” said Ray Martinez, SRFD Honor Guard commander.

An honor guard is a ceremonial unit whose primary role is to provide funeral honors for fallen comrades and participate in support of other agencies. They may also serve as the “Guardians of the Colors” by displaying and escorting the national flag on ceremonial occasions and during parades. The training course in Texas, a kind of “honor guard boot camp,” is designed to provide fire service and public safety organizations the basics to develop their honor guard and color guard units.

The SRFD saw this school as way to help train its members to showcase a more professional appearance when representing the Community and its members at the events they attend.

Fire service honor guard members founded the National Honor Guard Academy in 2006. The NHGA provides honor guard training to firefighters, police officers and EMS personnel from across the country.

The goal of the National Honor Guard Academy is to help all members of public safety organizations to present the highest possible degree of professionalism, dedication, loyalty, honor and dignity. Its members strive to honor public safety in all areas of life and to exhibit the best possible image to communities around the nation.

Daniel Schuelke (right) of the Salt River Fire Department participates in one of the courses in the Honor Guard training with other participants from the Country.
Submitted by Ray Martinez

The National Honor Guard Academy Training

1. Basic guidance for the standardization of training methods
2. Instruction in proper drill movement and techniques
3. Leadership enhancement
4. Team confidence building

The course covers the following topics:
1. Basic drill and ceremonial movements
2. Church and casket protocol
3. Developing department SOPs for honor guards and color guards
4. Public safety officer benefits
5. Flag etiquette
6. Honor guard commander leadership training
7. Various types of funeral services
8. Honor guard and color guard history and traditions

Mock Funeral: The academy culminates with a complete mock funeral that includes planning and conducting events at a funeral home, church and cemetery.
Evaluation: Students are evaluated on their command and coordination as well as their drill and ceremonial knowledge and execution.
Graduation: A formal graduation ceremony marks the end of the week and the rededication of the students’ commitment to Honor, Dignity and Respect.

To view a class video, visit For more information, visit