By Gabrielle KuholskiJune 14, 2013
Fort Huachuca, Az. - Three Soldiers from the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Huachuca Select Honor Guard received special recognition Monday for going above and beyond the call of duty to honor a fallen veteran. Staff Sgt. Jammy Frison, Staff Sgt. Ryan Rendina and Pfc. Orville Arel volunteered their own off-duty time to render honors at the memorial service of Alfred Bopp, a veteran Marine who served in the Korean War.
The Bopp family was presented with a unique circumstance. Krist Bopp's father Alfred was already buried and given his honors in Wisconsin. However, when his mother passed away in Bisbee, it was her dying wish that her husband's cremated remains be buried with her own.
"Most people don't have that kind of a situation," Rendina said. "We don't do too many reburials."
Typically, the Casualty Assistance Office takes calls regarding funeral arrangements for veterans, but could not help with a reburial. Rendina, who serves as the operations noncommissioned officer, took the phone call Bopp made directly to the honor guard, and decided to help him out.
Soldiers from the honor guard were asked to volunteer for the reburial since this was not an assigned memorial. Frison was the first to step forward; Arel was the second.
The three Soldiers performed the veteran's honors at the Bopp family cemetery on April 27 in front of about 10 family members. In the Soldiers' book, it was just another typical day of honor guard duties, but for Bopp and his family, it meant something more.
Bopp wrote a five-page letter to Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley, commanding general, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca, expressing his gratitude. Bopp's family also contributed $100 to the Wounded Warriors program and $50 to the Paralyzed Veterans of America in appreciation of the three Soldiers' efforts.
Rendina, Frison and Arel each received a star note from Ashley along a with the commanding general's USAICoE Coin of Excellence in the special recognition ceremony held at Alvarado Hall. The Soldiers received their awards with humility. They explained that their acknowledgement extends to all Soldiers in the Fort Huachuca Select Honor Guard.
"I'm glad Soldiers are being recognized in the honor guard for their hard work and contributions," Frison said.
For Rendina, the experience stands out in another way.
"That was my first funeral," he said, explaining that while he is trained to do funerals, his main task is handling honor guard operations.
The Fort Huachuca Select Honor Guard works demanding hours, often handling the honors at multiple funerals and memorial services in one day. Rendering honors during a Soldier's spare time is rare, according to 1st Sgt. Brandon Moore, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison. He said there is a great sense of pride in what Rendina, Frison and Arel accomplished.