By Fort Sill Cannoneer staffMay 20, 2010
FORT SILL, Okla.--Some Soldiers in basic combat training are learning flag protocol by performing reveille and retreat ceremonies at the post flag at McNair Hall. For the past two weeks, eight recruits from A Battery, 1st Battalion, 40th Field Artillery, performed the ceremonies under the supervision of their drill sergeant. They were in their third week of BCT.
"It's a great honor. I definitely learned a lot," said Pfc. Natasha Martinez, 20, of Meservey, La. "Not everyone in basic training gets to do it so I feel very privileged."
When the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security assigned the 434th FA Brigade the flag detail for May, the brigade selected batteries from the 1st-40th FA to perform them, said Drill Sergeant (Sgt. 1st Class) Alicia Sivelle, A Battery, 1st-40th FA. The recruits from A Battery performed the ceremonies for a couple weeks, then another battery from the battalion took over.
"It's going really good," Sivelle said, during the first week of the detail. "It's been a great learning experience for them."
The Soldiers performed the retreat ceremony daily at 5 p.m. Three of them served as road guards and two recruits manned the 75mm howitzer for the cannon salute, said Pvt. Steven Lightsey, 21, of St. Cloud, Fla. Three others, along with Sivelle, remained at equidistant posts around the base of the flag, saluting as reveille was played.
Before the recruits took over the duty, they observed a permanent party unit here perform the ceremonies for two days, Sivelle said. They met the Soldiers they would be relieving and walked through the steps of the ceremony.
The recruits also learned why the flag is raised, how to place it at half-staff, how to fold it as well as learning about the significance of bugle calls in ceremonies, she said.
The recruits did not lower the flag daily, but only handled it if needed to be replaced or lowered to half-staff, and that was performed in the mornings, said Pvt. Kevin Lovell, 19, of Batesville, Ark.