FRANKFORT, Ky –
Soldiers from around the commonwealth were educated, graded and assessed in the ways of the Kentucky National Guard Honor Guard March 20-26.
Around ten Soldiers from units around Kentucky learned the proper way to fold the flag and present it. They also worked on drill and ceremony and even practiced taps on the bugle.
Army Sgt. Scott Zelensky, who is the Northern Kentucky area coordinator for the state's military Funeral Honors team in charge of scheduling services for the region, led the group through their steps.
“We are conducting a week long training course for the Soldiers,” said Zelensky. “Our team holds a level one certification every few months to get Soldiers certified to perform military funeral honors throughout the state. Today, we did a uniform inspection, our first of two and we're also going to be going into a three Soldier urn sequence today, as well as train them how to fold a flag.”
The Soldiers are picked from their units across the Guard and then Zelensky and his team will scrutinize them prior to getting selected to do this training.
“We're looking for Soldiers who do the right thing, ones we can trust to go out and represent the best of the United States Army, to our Nation and to the world," he added.
One of those Soldiers being assessed was Staff Sgt. Brandon Johnson. He has been in the Guard for about 12 years and serves as a truck driver with the 206th Forward Support Company. He volunteered to join the Honor Guard to honor and show respect to those who came before him.
“We’ve had some long nights already trying to get ready for inspections,” he said. “But the sense of duty and being humbled by the process makes it worth it. You really have to have a passion for what you are doing and it’s not something you just decide to try out. You need to be dedicated to it.”
The overall sentiment of the group as a whole was this was a very humbling experience.
“This isn’t something you can come do for a week,” said Johnson. “You are going to need a great desire for it. We are the ones providing closure to their loved ones. It’s not something we can take lightly.”
Certainly not a task Soldiers or their leaders take lightly and it’s why the certification process is as rigid as it is.
“This is the most honorable thing; It is the most difficult thing; but it will also be the best thing you ever do in your life,” added Zelensky
The other Soldiers leading and assessing during the training were: Army Staff Sergeants Cody Miller and Jared Zerhusen with the 940th Military Police Company, 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.
There are approximately 40 Soldiers who are in the KYNG Honor Guard’s roster now that can be called to service when needed, but only eight full-time Soldiers on staff.
If you would like more information about the Honor Guard. Please contact their non-commissioned officer-in-charge Staff Sgt. Jared Zerhusen at firstname.lastname@example.org