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 Blog Post

Recognizing the Hard Work of our DOC Honor Guards

Tags: DOC, Somerset
August 18, 2023 12:00 AM
By: DOC Staff

DOC Honor Guards stand in formation at a memorial service.

Did you know that every State Correctional Institution (SCI) within the DOC has their own Honor Guard team? Each team consists of 15-25 members from all different departments within the facility. Honor Guards are primarily responsible for serving at various ceremonies, including funerals.

DOC Honor Guards attend line-of-duty death memorials for law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and county corrections officers, to name a few. In some cases, Honor Guard teams will travel out of state to attend ceremonies and show their support by participating in large formations with other state DOC Honor Guards.  Our PA DOC Honor Guards have traveled to pay respects at memorial ceremonies in New Jersey, Tennessee, Iowa, and New York.

Some other types of ceremonies and events that Honor Guards may serve at include current or retired staff deaths, flag folding ceremonies, posting and retiring the Colors, and presenting the Colors at sporting events and marching in local parades. Specifically, at funeral services, the Honor Guard will perform what is known as a “casket watch” where members will stand at the head and foot of the casket and “guard” the deceased during the services.

Each Honor Guard team may differ in types of the events and ceremonies they participate in, and they each work closely with families of the deceased to ensure their wishes are respected. It is a privilege to serve as a member of an Honor Guard, and the selection process varies by facility.

Each institution varies in the amount of and types of training that their teams complete. The Honor Guard at SCI Somerset has a unique opportunity to train several times with the Honor Guard team from the U.S. Air Force Base in Pittsburgh.

The Department of Corrections is proud to support our institutions’ teams and is appreciative of their hard work. The dedication that it requires to be a member of the DOC Honor Guard will never go unrecognized.

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