Honor Guard History
The Nevada Army National Guard’s State Honor Guard was formally established on June 20, 2004. The Honor Guard is comprised of soldiers from the Nevada Army National Guard and is overseen by the state’s command sergeant major.
The Honor Guard’s mission is to provide dignified military funeral honors to eligible veterans of our nation’s armed forces. In addition, the Honor Guard represents the state of Nevada by serving on various color Guard events including parades, opening ceremonies, change-of-command ceremonies, Presidential visits, and many other functions. The Nevada State Honor Guard is committed to maintaining the highest level of excellence when performing all Honor Guard functions.
In early 2005, the ARNG Honor Guard Program began with federal oversight. State funeral honors coordinators were appointed in states with significant military funeral demand.
In July of 2005, Nevada received word that its first Guardsman was killed in Iraq. The soldier was Spc. Anthony Cometa who was assigned to the 1864th Transportation Company based in Henderson. Although Cometa was not killed in action by hostile fire, his death sent shock waves through the Nevada Guard and the state’s communities. A 10-soldier Honor Guard led by State Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Sitton flew to Rochester, N.Y., to render final military honors to Cometa at his final resting place. The commander of the Nevada Army Guard at the time, Brig. Gen. Randall Sayre, and others in Cometa's senior chain of command also traveled to New York.
The Nevada Honor Guard has pioneered and hosted several events that have helped standardize the national ARNG Honor Guard Program. The first event was a national training conference held in Reno where 110 Honor Guard soldiers from across the nation were trained by six “Old Guard” soldiers assigned to the U.S. Infantry's 3rd Regiment. As a result of the success of that training conference, the National Guard Bureau subsequently established a formal two-week military funeral honors course at the professional education center in Little Rock, Ark. There Soldiers learn the ARNG Honor Guard Standard and are awarded the ARNG Honor Guard Tab.
In March 2006, the annual National Honor Guard Competition was piloted and hosted by the Nevada State Army Honor Guard. Seven teams representing each of the regions of the Army National Guard Honor Guard Program competed for top honors. Although the Nevada Honor Guard did not take first place in the competition, it did receive an honorable mention for its efforts and for hosting the event.
The Nevada State Army Honor Guard competed regionally and won a spot to represent the State of Nevada and region 7 in the 2008 National Honor Guard Competition. Eight Nevada Guardsmen trained for eight weeks everyday to perfect their standard of conducting military funeral honors. Out of 48 states that participated in the 2008 National Honor Guard Competition the Nevada State Army Honor Guard placed 4th in the nation. This signifies the level of dedication represented by every member of the Nevada State Army Honor Guard. Currently, the NVARNG is preparing a team to compete in the 2009 National Honor Guard Competition which will be held in Arlington National Cemetery in late 2009.
The Nevada State Army Honor Guard continues to be the tip of the spear for the ARNG Honor Guard Program. To date, the Nevada State Honor Guard has conducted more than 3,100 missions and is projected to participate in more than 820 missions in 2009.