Ogallala Honor Guard
PO Box 187 ~ Ogallala, Nebraska 69153

"Celebrating 12 Years of Service" 

History & SOP's/SOG's
Honor Guard members from left to right: Tom Reeson, Scott King, Ken Knoepfel, Commander: Rick Bourque,
Casey Pascale, Dell Simmerman, Vice-Commander: Jeff Paul, and Cole Peters
(Not Pictured: Allen Sipley)

Ogallala Honor Guard

Mission:

The Ogallala Honor Guard is a ceremonial unit dedicated to honoring with distinction those who serve the fire service. The Ogallala Honor Guard serves with respect and dignity at funerals and memorial services for our fallen brothers and sisters, as well as participates in parades, special events, and other ceremonial occasions.

 

Motto:

“Never Forget” (Nunquam Alieno)

History of the Honor Guard in Fire Service:

THE HISTORY OF THE HONOR GUARD IN THE FIRE SERVICE GOES BACK TO THE KNIGHTS OF ST. JOHN AND THE HISTORY OF THE MALTESE CROSS.

 

IN THE 11TH CENTURY, DURING THE CRUSADES, THE KNIGHTS OF ST. JOHN FACED A NEW WEAPON OF FIRE THROWN FROM THE WALLS OF JERUSALEM.  HUNDREDS OF KINGHTS WERE BURNEDALIVE, WHILE OTHER KNIGHT STRUGGLES DESPERATLY TO HELPTHEIR BURNING COMRADES, BEATING OUT THE FLAMES ANDDRAGGING THEM TO SAFETY.  tHEIR HEROIC EFFORTS WERERECOGNIZED BY FELLOW CRUSADERS WHO AWARDED them WITH A BADGE OF HONOR SIMILAR TO THE MALTESE CROSS FIREFIGHTERS WEAR TODAY.tHE EIGHT POINTS OF THE MALTESE CROSS ARE SAID TO SYNBOLIZE THE VURTUTES OF:

cHARITY

lOYALTY

cHIVALRY

gALLANTRY

GENEROSITY TO FRIEND AND FOE

PROTECTION OF THE WEAK

dEXTERITY IN SERVICE

CONTEMPT OF DEATH

 

IN 1530, THE ISLAND OF MALTA WAS GIVEN TO THESE CORAGEOUS KNIGHTS.  tHE SYMBOL they addopted for THEIR FLAG IS THE EIGHT POINTED CROSS, the cross of MALTa.tHESE KNIGHTS FORMED A LEGION OF ELITE TROOPS

DESIGNATED TO PRESERVE AND GUARD THE BUIRIAL GROUNDs OF THEIR FALLEN COMRADES, AS IT WAS A COMMAN PRACTICE OF THEIR ENEMIES TO ROB AND DESECRATE THE GRAVES OF FALLEN SOLDIERS.  tHEIR WAS NO Gratter call of duty than that of Protecting and honoring their fallen brothers, and protecting them on their final journey.

 

It is from that heroic beginning that the modern honor guard garners its inspiration.  it is our duty to maintain the vurtues of the knights of St. John and honor our fallen brothers with the same loyalty, dignity, and respect afforded those who are wiling to make great sacfifices and corouragously risk their lives to protect their community from the ravages of fire.

History of the Ogallala Honor Guard:

Started in 2003, the Ogallala Honor Guard was formed of five members.  Kerry Wyatt served as the founding Commander, with unit members Rick Bourque, Ken Knoepfel, Casey Pascale, and Jake Wyatt.  In 2005, Kerry Wyatt resigned, and Rick Bourque became the Commander.

In 2007, the Honor Guard expanded to seven members including new members Mike Bell, Jeff Paul, and Dell Simmerman.  In April 2007, the Honor Guard acquired the dress black uniform design, as well as designed the emblematic patch.  This represents the separation from the “Old Guard” that was established from outside influences.  In 2011, the dress uniform was changed to a Class A Kilt and Doublet Jecket.

The Ogallala Honor Guard has quickly become well known for their presentation skills and level of professionalism, and members have participated in numerous state and federal formal ceremonies, including the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service in Emmitsburg, MD.

Members have completed the US Department of Justice Line of Duty Death (LODD) training, and have attended Honor Guard Boot Camp, at which the Ogallala Honor Guard won two Drill Down competitions.

 

 

Standard Operating Procedures

Chain of Command and Responsibilities:

Commander: Rick Bourque       

They shall preside over all meetings, conduct training, and lead unit in performances.  Responsibilities include expense and debit reporting/accounting, evaluation of members, and with consultation of Vice Commander, disciplinary action as needed.

Vice Commander: Ken Knoepfel

They shall have the same duties and responsibilities as the Commander in his/her absence.

Sergeant at Arms: Ken Knoepfel

They shall be responsible in overseeing the upkeep and preservation of the guards’ equipment, and shall inform the Commander as to the necessity of re-ordering items in need of replacement.

 

Selection:

The Honor Guard will consist of at least seven (7) permanent members.  Vacancies will be filled by recommendations by the current honor guard members.  Candidates will be screened by a try-out process consisting of no fewer than five drill sessions, and must be unanimously voted on by the current honor guard members to a probationary level.  Probationary Candidates will be proficient in drill, physically fit, and of good character during the probationary time period.  The candidates will be probationary members for no less than six (6) months, and after completing this process, the Commander and Vice Commander will make a recommendation to the full unit as to accepting the candidate to permanent status.  The candidate must receive the vote of the Commander, Vice Commander, and a majority plus one of the current guard members.  Despite any suggestions, confusions, and/or insinuations, any association with the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department or the City of Ogallala is non-existent other than former and current members of the Ogallala Honor Guard are former and current members of the Ogallala Volunteer Fire Department.

 

Conduct:

Members represent the best and finest of their organization.  All members will conduct themselves as ambassadors of a fire service family accordingly at all public events while representing the team and their organization. 

 

Practice:

All members are required to attend all regular and special monthly training sessions, as scheduled.  Members are required to attain 75% or greater attendance to perform at functions. 

 

Uniform and Issued Equipment:

All guard members are personally responsible to maintain their gear in an outstanding manner.  Uniforms must be kept cleaned and pressed at all times, as ceremonial duty may occur at any time.  Shoe and boots must be kept cleaned and polished.  No duty gear will be stored soiled or unkempt.  Damaged equipment and gear is the responsibility of the person to whom it was issued.  Un-repairable gear must be reported immediately to the Sergeant at Arms.  Replacement gear is the financial responsibility of guard member, unless otherwise voted on by the majority of the guard members.

 

Non-Issued Equipment:

All property of the Honor Guard will be returned in a cleaned and ready for use condition.  Weapons, flags, banners, and any other property of the Honor Guard will be stored in protective case when available.  Any other property of the guard will be used only with the permission of the Commander and/or Vice Commander for non-performance related events.  The Ogallala Honor Guard will not use firearms for any performances.  Parade rifles are prohibited always!

 

Performance and Skills:

All members must perform the required drill skills and flag and tool carrying techniques at a professional military etiquette quality with a sharp attention to detail to perform publicly.  All guard members will cross train on all positions.  Members will be selected to a position by demonstrating proficiency at skill position.  Members not meeting the standard required by the Commander and Vice Commander will be suspended from performing until such time as the skill level is proficiently demonstrated and approved by the Commander and Vice Commander.

 

Physical Fitness:

All members will strive to maintain good physical fitness.  Members should strive to have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of no greater than 30.  Those members who become severely out of shape will be placed on probation until such time as they retain a moderate level of physical fitness.

 

Protocols:

The Ogallala Honor Guard will follow the "Funeral Procedures for Firefighters" 2nd edition from the National Volunteer Fire Council. Further, and we will follow protocols for Level One, Level Two, and Level Three Funeral Types in section 3.3 of the "Chaplains Manual-Fire Department Funerals" authored by the Federation of Fire Chaplains."  As advocated, other than a line of duty death Level One or an active duty fire chief, no person shall have use of a fire engine caisson for a fire department funeral.  By definition, a caisson includes any active, retired, parade, antique, or reproduction fire apparatus or vehicle whose primary function past or present is or was to be used in any purpose by a fire, rescue, or ambulance service.  If assisting another department, at no time will the Ogallala Honor Guard deviate from these protocols.

 

Confidentiality:

As with any paramilitary organization, highly sensitive matters and personal information is discussed and reviewed during meetings.  Therefore: all business and meetings of the Honor guard are confidential!  At no time may any member discuss any item(s) that is (are) discussed or reviewed at an Honor Guard meeting.  Violators will be severely disciplined and may be removed from the guard.

 

Team Building Events:  All members are encouraged to participate in Team Building Events when possible.  It is important that the Ogallala Honor Guard members build unit cohesion and unity by getting away from local distractions and detractors to build a solid team dynamic.

 

Financial Accounting:

A yearly accounting will be given by the commander as to the financial transactions and any and all account received.  This report will be confidential.

 

De-Selection:

Members who are deemed unfit to continue serving due to actions unfitting the Honor Guard will be placed on probation as seen fit by the Commander after a majority plus one vote of the guard.  If the Commander is to be deemed as unfit, the Vice Commander will make the probationary decision.  Members who violate the conditions of probation will be permanently removed a minimum of five (5) votes.  Members who are asked to retire must return their uniform and any and all accoutrements immediately.

 

Resignations:

Guard members who resign in good standing and have served on the Honor Guard for six (6) years or more may keep their dress uniform.  All others must surrender their uniform at the end of their service, unless an exception is voted on by a majority of the guard members.

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