4th CAV Renders Final Honors

By Staff Sgt. Nicholas Brown-BellDecember 8, 2021

FORT KNOX, Ky. – The various different customs and courtesies involved in laying service members to rest following their deaths are rooted in history, some as far back as the Middle Ages. These include the practices of draping a flag over a casket, the playing of “Taps,” firing of a 21-gun salute, and presenting a folded U.S. flag to the deceased’s next of kin. In order to accurately, professionally, and compassionately complete these activities, a funeral honors team must be the most proficient and knowledgeable of any selected for additional duty.

The 4th Cavalry Multi-Functional Training Brigade has just completed a month-long tour of duty during which it was required to provide 49 personnel to execute the final ceremony for 133 former Army soldiers. With only 276 soldiers permanently assigned, eighteen percent of the unit’s manpower was constantly performing funeral honors across Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan.

“Every report we received said that our team members performed top-notch. We received commendations from numerous funeral directors on the expertise of our teammates and we could not be more proud of their empathy,” Master Sgt. Nicholas Alsop-Skeel, Brigade Current Operations NCO, said.

The 4th Cavalry MFTB operates in a fast-paced environment, where its primary mission is the training and preparation of U.S. Army Reserve units prior to and immediately following mobilization to contingency operations worldwide.

“Our team was able to sustain all of our current operations as planned, even with the significant decrease in manpower available due to our participation in the funeral honors mission,” Maj. Matthew Templeton, Brigade Current Operations Officer in Charge, said.

“The limited availability of personnel may have stressed some troops-to-task and training management functions across our battalions and headquarters troop, but they were still able to provide expert mentoring and partnership which is, ultimately, our number one priority.”

“It does not surprise me that 4th CAV was picked to carry out this mission,” Master Sgt. Brooks Corpening, Funeral Honors Team NCO in Charge, said. “Our unit is senior leader-heavy, with a diverse range of experiences and capabilities. We bring a lot of collective understanding to the table and we were able to back that up through our performance these past thirty days. Every teammate appreciated the immense obligation we had to provide professional and compassionate honors to those Veterans we have lost, and they did it incredibly well.”

Fortunately, none of those laid to rest passed away from the COVID-19 virus. All teammates, as is Department of Defense policy, were required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and every safety precaution was taken to slow the spread of the pandemic. The most current information regarding the COVID-19 virus can be found at https://www.defense.gov/Spotlights/Coronavirus-DOD-Response/.

Additionally, as the holidays approach, it is vital to remain cognizant of the mental and emotional wellbeing of our teammates. If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally and may be contemplating self-harm or suicide, please visit https://www.militaryonesource.mil/health-wellness/mental-health/suicide/ or anonymously call 1-800-273-8255.