Sherwood said the Sailors in Alpha Company are constantly preparing their uniforms, practicing drill and marching exercises, learning new movements, and standing by for inspections.
Once trainees complete training and get their job qualification requirements signed off, they can put in a request for their top two platoons in the Bravo and Charlie companies. Trainees are then placed in the appropriate platoons based on the needs of the guard and the competency of the Sailor.
Bravo Company houses two platoons. The casket bearers are in the first platoon and the firing party is in the second.
In teams of eight, casket bearers deliver the remains of deceased service members to their final resting places within Arlington National Cemetery or another cemetery catering to veterans. The precise movements executed at each funeral are refined through months of practice and performance. Weight training and relentless practice sharpen focus and develop unity of motion and strength. Each synchronized move is an expression of respect for the Navy's fallen paid through effort and dedication. Over the span of a two-year tour at the Guard, each bearer strives for proficiency in all casket bearing missions and to achieve the top qualification of "Wreath Bearer."
It's very honorable to lay down your shipmate. You get a sense of pride and it makes you appreciate the Navy, the uniform you wear and your country as a whole." - AOAN Ambrileen Lee
The firing party is responsible for rendering the three volleys, the signature honor of military funerals. The teams consist of seven riflemen firing their weapons at the same exact moment, as though three cannon rounds were fired. The rhythmic motion of seven index fingers on seven separate triggers acting and sounding as one is the product of countless hours of training. The firing party also conducts guns salutes at the Washington Navy Yard during Chief of Naval Operations arrival ceremonies, retirement ceremonies and other events commemorating dates or people of significance. Each firing party member strives to achieve their top qualification "Battery Petty Officer."
"I've always wanted to be the one to shoot the rifle," said Aviation Ordnance Airman Ambrileen Lee. I earned my top qualification, which was a lengthy process and very hard but it was definitely worth it."