Rendering final honors for America's fallen heroes

13News Now Mike Gooding has the story

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- It's the most solemn duty in the military: rendering final honors to the fallen.

This week, at Camp Pendleton, National Guard soldiers from nine states are learning how to do it the right way, with precision, dignity and professionalism, at the military funeral honors training course.

It's an intense, 80-hour, two week course designed to teach instructors how to teach fellow soldiers the precise skills and standards, to make sure military funerals are perfect.

Nobody is here because they have to be. It's all volunteer.

"As an obligation, it's an honor and a privilege to be out here for these vets whether it's a retiree or KIA or anyone who has served in the military," said Virginia National Guard soldier Sgt. Krystal Medina. "It's an
 honor and a privilege to be out here for these vets whether it's a retiree or KIA or anyone who has served in the military and we're here to honor that service that they committed to and we're going to be right behind them in the long run."

Following the standards of the Third Army Old Guard, it's everything from how they march, to how they look to how they fold the flag with precision. And, how they interact with families.

"We run this level two course here with experienced national guard soldiers, in this particular case, from nine different states," said Assistant Program Manager Bob Huffman. "And they all came here with the intent of leaving here as a certified instructor, meaning they can go back to their respective states and teach their soldiers how to do funeral honors."

National Guard soldiers average 190 funerals per month in Virginia, and they performed more than 125,000 services nationally in fiscal year 2016.


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