When a Marine passes away the local Marine base provides a military funeral honors detail ranging from two to seventeen people to participate in the service if requested by the family
As part of the funeral detail Marines have to have control of their equipment and emotions, which Corporal Nicole Dickinson says isn't easy. "It's a hard environment to be in just thinking that could be me, that could be someone I know" says Dickinson. Marines all agree it's not easy practicing burying a fallen marine, because they know one day practice will become reality. However they say it's a duty Lance Corporal Franklin Good says he's proud to perform. "I believe that it's an honor to be part of a funeral detail because we honor a fallen brother or sister who has served for our country" says Good.
The Marine Corps Logistics Base has a group of 30 active duty Marines that practice all of the roles in the funeral detail including pallbearers who carry the casket of the fallen marine, flag detail to present an American flag to the family, rifle team for the 21 gun salute, or the officer in charge giving the commands for the entire funeral. Everyone in the detail knows how to perform every position.
Master Sergeant Mark Carabello says they practice for hours because the goal is to be perfect. "We try to make sure we make small adjustments during the practices, having the angle right, making sure the Marines feet are placed correctly and that way everything looks the same and there's nothing out of order" says Carabello.
The Marine presenting the American flag says the following phrase to the person receiving the flag: "On behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Marine Corps, and a grateful nation please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved ones honorable and faithful service".
Marines practicing say they don't mind the repetitive practice because on the day of a real funeral they want to be perfect in order to honor a fallen brother or sister. "We want to be our best not only for the fallen marine, but particularly for the family members so that they have fond memories of their loved one as well as that service that we perform to honor them" says Carabello.