Daily Kos: The Patriot Detail: Honoring the fallen

The Patriot Detail: Honoring the fallen
by jabbausaf [Subscribe]
Sun Aug 21st, 2005 at 07:01:26 CDT

A few people have noticed my occasional references to Patriot Details, and have asked me what it means. It is a subject that deserves its own diary. In short, when a servicemember dies in the AOR, in or around Iraq or Afghanistan, he is put in the flag-draped coffin, and the Patriot Detail is the honor guard that escorts him to the plan that will take him home. My shop chief makes a point of going to these whenever he can. He is a good man. I'm not strong enough. The tragedy of it is almost too much to handle froma distance, much less from up close.

Here's a couple descriptions.

* jabbausaf's diary :: ::


There was, of course, a proper escort for this soldier to a waiting transport that would return him home. This escort is called the Patriot Detail.

When a fallen American soldier returns home, that soldier is sent home with respect and dignity. Lt. Col. Carleton Hirschel of the 332nd Expeditionary Services Squadron at Balad AB has said:

"On the way home, (the fallen soldier) is given the privileges of a hero and a patriot who had lived up to the code of conduct and given his life in support of his country."

A detail is assembled comprised of at least six, whose responsibility it is to carry their brother or sister to the start of that soldier's final journey home. A vehicle arrives, often a Humvee, carrying the flag draped casket. Six soldiers willing to bear their friend relieve the Humvee.

One soldier who has been in such a detail has said this:

"Next, I caught sight of the Humvee carrying the flag draped casket. The US flag is so beautiful, covering a casket it takes on a sobering and sacred hue."
There is a solemn march, salutes presented by the slowly rising right arms of the detail bid the soldier adieu, and a chaplain is present to offer a prayer for the fallen soldier and the family.

And more thoroughly

Patriot detail honors fallen with dignity, pride
by Master Sgt. Robert Branham
332nd Expeditionary Services Squadron

BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq -- Somewhere in America a family member is waiting for their relative to return home. He is returning early, having served his profession with pride and excellence.

We won't be there to honor his arrival, but we were there when more than 100 of his fellow professionals saw him off with respect and dignity. His title, and the title of thousands of his like-minded brothers and sisters, is specialist. For their profession is to defend the United States of America.

The Soldiers of his unit and the Airmen of our 332nd Expeditionary Wing stood at attention, in a cordon of desert camouflage uniforms, as six of his unit's young men stood ready to carry their brother to his place on the start of his journey home. Just before they begin their solemn march, we are ordered to present arms, and for three seconds our right arms were slowly raised to touch the corner of our eyes. As the detail passed we held our salute, honoring our comrade in arms and the Stars and Stripes as they pass by. We held our salute until he was secured in his place of honor, then after the first sergeant's command, we slowly brought our arms to our side.

Still at attention, with eyes strait ahead, I could observe several faces with trails of tears, men and women alike, young and old. For we have lost one of our own. One who put service before self...

Daily Kos: The Patriot Detail: Honoring the fallen


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