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Military Vets, Active Duty, Reserves This area is for veterans and military members of all countires can discuss vet issues.

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  #1  
Old 2 Weeks Ago
decman decman is offline
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Default Thanksgiving, 1977 (U.S. Army)

It was 45 years ago on Thanksgiving Day, Nov 24th like today.
I was in Basic Training in Ft Jackson, SC. 4th platoon, B-5-1, Tank Hill.

Our platoon was on funeral detail for that month. The Army would rotate the
detail though the various units on base. If a local military funeral happened that
month we would supply the rifle team and pallbearers.
The Drill SGTs started with the 50 members of the platoon and weeded
out the 'error prone' recruits until we were down to the 13 needed.
We practiced every day until we were perfect.

We got the word that we would be honoring a CWO at The Greater Mount Zion
Baptist Church in Winnsboro SC on Thanksgiving day. I did not know that they held
funerals on holidays like that.

I was one of the few that had a military drivers license so I drove the Army green
van to the church with the rest of the detail. Back then I-77 did not exist in that area.
I do remember taking a lot of dirt roads until we finally came to the church.
The church is still there but the road is paved now. The cemetery is on the
side of the church.

I was part of the rifle team and we stood at parade rest on the dirt road in
front of the church during the funeral. After an hour or so the pallbearers
brought the casket out and moved over to the cemetery. The bugler playing
Taps was behind us to the left on a high piece of ground.
It was a overcast day with a little bit of fog.

The 21 gun salute and Taps went off beautifully. It was an eerie feeling
being in the middle of nowhere and performing that sacred duty.
It is also difficult to keep your composure at a time like that.
The Sergeants gave the family 21 polished shell casings in addition to the flag.

I remember that day vividly every Thanksgiving.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Happy Thanksgiving!
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Old 2 Weeks Ago
John Harper John Harper is offline
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Great story. I was not aware of the shell casings going to the family, we're all familiar with the trifolded flag.

John
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Thanks for your service and a great story. I also never heard of the shell casings. I was in Aberdeen Proving Grounds in 1964. Had a turkey dinner in the mess hall.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Yea, I think the shell casings was the Drill SGT's idea, never saw that again.
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That's a fine memory
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Declan, thank you for sharing. And thank you for your service.
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VERY moving story Dec. Thank you.
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