COAST GUARD CEREMONIAL HONOR GUARD BADGE

On March 5, 2017, the United States Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard celebrated the 55th anniversary of its establishment by Commandant Alfred Richmond, who had acted to formally establish the unit upon a request by President John F. Kennedy earlier in 1962. Before the Honor Guard’s establishment, the Coast Guard Recruit Training Center had been the source of personnel to form units to represent the Coast Guard at national ceremonies, while local Coast Guard units were responsible for creating their own Honor Guards to serve at funerals for Coast Guard members or veterans.

The first Honor Guard was based at the U.S. Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore and comprised 33 members. To facilitate travel to Washington, D.C., by far the most common destination for the Honor Guard, the unit’s home was moved to the Coast Guard Radio Station in Alexandria, Virginia in 1965. The Honor Guard is still based there, but the installation is now designated the Coast Guard Telecommunication and Information Systems Command (TISCOM).

In the fifty-plus years since its creation, the Honor Guard has more than doubled in size to 73 members (63 Seamen,10 Staff). Representing the Commandant of the Coast Guard, the Military District of Washington, and the entire Coast Guard, the Honor Guard performs more than 1,600 ceremonies each year. (This figure is taken directly from the USCG Honor Guard’s Web site.)

The Honor Guard is headed by a Lieutenant (O3) serving as Company Commander, with a Chief Petty Officer assigned as Chief of the Honor Guard / Chief Master at Arms reporting directly to him. Lieutenant Commanders assume the roles of Operations Officer, Training Officer, and Supply Officer. Fifty-five members of the unit are non-rates drawn directly from Training Center Cape May; they serve two-year tours of duty, as do the officers assigned to the unit. Chiefs and Petty Officers, on the other hand, are assigned four-year tours with the Honor Guard.
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