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Home : News : News
NEWS | March 11, 2014

JBSA Honor Guard stops flag folding at retirement ceremonies

By Alex Salinas Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

The Joint Base San Antonio Honor Guard will no longer offer flag folding during individual retirement ceremonies starting April 1.

Instead, the unit will dispatch a member to present a pre-folded flag at retirements - replacing the current two-person flag-folding process - to sustain the integrity of a busy schedule, Master Sgt. Nidia Hodge, JBSA Honor Guard superintendent, said.

"All military funeral honors take precedence over retirement and public ceremonies, so sending one member saves us time and every minute counts," she said. "We want to serve as much of the community as possible, but that requires a constant balancing of time."

The JBSA Honor Guard's area of responsibility spans 65,000 square miles and 69 counties. In January, the 32-member honor guard performed a total of 173 details, which included 154 funerals, according to Hodge.

Next month's policy change does not affect the folding of the national flag at military funerals.

"The honor guard takes great pride and honor in providing colors at military and civic ceremonies, but they are secondary to the core of the unit's existence, which is and will remain military funeral honors presentations," Tech Sgt. Juan Garcia, JBSA Honor Guard Flight NCO in charge, said. "We may not manage to attend every requested ceremony, but rest assured we will do our best and continue to promote the mission, protect the standards, perfect the image and preserve the heritage of our service."

In lieu of the updated protocol, Hodge said individuals can contact the honor guard for training on how to properly fold a flag, which "only takes a couple of hours."

"In this way, flag folding can still be part of a retirement ceremony, if desired, and someone special to the retired person can be the one to do it," Hodge said.

The honor guards at JBSA-Randolph and JBSA-Lackland merged to form the JBSA Honor Guard late last year and performed its first detail as a conjoined unit Oct. 1. Every quarter, new members replenish the honor guard.

For requests or more information, call the JBSA Honor Guard at 671-2562.