Vermont National Guard Logo News
Articles
News | Dec. 21, 2020

Vermont Guard restarts Military Funeral Honors training program

By Don Branum Vermont National Guard Public Affairs

Nine cadets from the University of Vermont Army ROTC detachment became the newest graduates of the Vermont National Guard’s Military Funeral Honors training program in a ceremony here Dec. 18, and the first graduates of the full 40-hour course in 10 years.

The cadets will support a program that covers all of Vermont as well as parts of New York and New Hampshire, said Staff Sgt. Travis Rock, the MFH program manager.

“When I’m limited to full-time Soldiers, we can call in these cadets to fill in where we can’t,” said Rock, who formally became the program manager Dec. 16. Rock was trained in 2010, during the last full 40-hour class that the Vermont National Guard offered.

Graduates from this course were Cadets Dan Borbely, Taylor Caitlin, Seth Cournoyer, Alyssa Ellis, Timothy Forkey, Haley Kieny, Hannah Minns, Teagan Poliseno, and Nicholas Welsh. Minns was named the program’s top graduate, earning a perfect score in the class and receiving an Army Achievement Medal from Maj. Jason Beams, UVM ROTC’s operations officer and Vermont National Guard liaison.

“The class came about in part because of a phone call from Beams,” Holt said. “ROTC came to us. They wanted to help us out with this.”

Minns, one of four cadets in the class who’s enrolled in the National Guard’s Simultaneous Membership Program, said she wanted to get the certification and hopes to join funeral details next summer. SMP allows Soldiers to serve in the National Guard while also attending college in an ROTC program, and those enrolled in the program can receive active-duty pay while in training and conducting funeral details.

Ellis, the color guard captain for UVM’s ROTC detachment, said the training gave her good information she could bring back to share with other cadets.

Holt said the training opportunity came at a good time: November and December are when the MFH operations tempo slows down. Requests do still come in, however, including three funeral details that were conducted the day of the graduation ceremony.

Previously, when service members in the Vermont National Guard required MFH training, they would travel to training locations in other states, said Stephen Holt, the outgoing state coordinator for the program.

The COVID-19 pandemic has limited the MFH program’s activities somewhat, Rock said. Training and details had to be conducted using social distancing protocols. In addition, most funeral services in 2020 were limited to two-person details that included playing Taps and presenting a folded American flag to the deceased veteran’s next of kin.

“If we could do more, I would love to,” he added.

Holt said the ROTC cadets did an excellent job picking up the fine details necessary to properly conduct funeral honors.

“I can tell they’ve practiced. They’re paying attention to the little things. Keeping a ceremonial posture is key when performing a funeral detail. These cadets have the motivation to want to learn,” Holt said. “These are our future leaders, and to have that reverence for the past is hopefully something they’ll pass down to their Soldiers.”

Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, the Vermont adjutant general, spoke with the cadets just before the graduation ceremony to thank them for their dedication.

“Your rendering of final honors at a memorial ceremony means everything to the family members and next of kin of the service member they loved,” Knight said. “You wear this uniform for a reason. So did they.”

 Rock said the program could always use more volunteers. Tentative classes are scheduled for February and March.

“I have plans to run the 40-hour course as many times as I can,” Rock said. “I’d like to get as many Soldiers certified as possible.”

Soldiers who complete the MFH training receive a tab to wear on their uniforms and Holt said the program is in the process of getting state approval for a badge.

Soldiers interested in attending a training session or joining the MFH program should contact the MFH office at 802-338-3490.

National Guard News
Washington National Guard Soldiers from the 506th Military Police Detachment conduct tactical medical training June 15, 2022 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Washington Guard MPs Train on Law Enforcement Skills
By Joseph Siemandel, | June 28, 2022
CAMP MURRAY, Wash. – Building off last year’s comprehensive annual training, Washington National Guard members from the 506th Military Police Detachment developed their law enforcement skills during training this month.“We...

A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker from the 191st Air Refueling Group, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan,  arrives at Sawyer International Airport, Marquette, Michigan, to support Agile Combat Employment training as multicapable Airmen during the Northern Agility 22-1 exercise, June 27, 2022. Northern Agility 22-1 tests the rapid insertion of an Air Expeditionary Wing into a bare-base environment to establish logistics and communications and enhance the ability to operate in austere environments.
Northern Agility 22-1 Begins in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
By Capt. Andrew Layton, | June 28, 2022
MARQUETTE, Michigan - U.S. Air Force KC-135 aircraft from the 127th Wing, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan, arrived at Sawyer International Airport June 27 to kick off Northern Agility 22-1, a total-force Agile...

Lt. Col. Dan Tzizik, the medical officer in charge from the New Hampshire Army National Guard Medical Detachment, screens Tara Parker Dorler, a daycare provider, during the Cherokee Nation Innovative Readiness Exercise June 5, 2022. Parker Dorler was the first patient at the clinic set up inside the Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
New Hampshire Guard Provides Health Care in Cherokee Nation
By Staff Sgt. Victoria Nelson, | June 28, 2022
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – New Hampshire National Guardsmen and sister services provided the Cherokee Nation with more than a quarter-million dollars in health care exams and services during their joint two-week Innovative Readiness...

Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers from the 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry Regiment, fire a Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wire-guided anti-tank missile during training June 10, 2022, at Fort McCoy, Wis.
105th Cavalry Seizes Opportunity to Train on Tow Missiles
By Staff Sgt. Kati Volkman, | June 27, 2022
FORT MCCOY, Wis. – Recent history and some hustle enabled the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team to train on Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wire-guided anti-tank missiles during annual...

Approximately 80 Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers with the 1st Battalion of the 148th Field Artillery Regiment and counterparts from California, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin are training with the Royal Moroccan Army in the northern Sahara Desert as part of African Lion ’22.
Idaho National Guard Participates in African Lion Exercise
By Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur, | June 27, 2022
TAN-TAN, Morocco – Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers with the 1st Battalion of the 148th Field Artillery Regiment and their counterparts from California, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin are training with the Royal Moroccan...