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At attention

Honor guard plays key role in postal ceremonies

The Postal Police’s honor guard in San Juan, PR, stands during a recent ceremony. From left are Lt. Eduardo Colon-Roquez and Postal Police officers Julio Martinez, Emmanuel Perez and Luis Morales.

The Postal Police honor guard is a familiar sight at USPS ceremonies, but how much do you know about these flag-bearing individuals?

The honor guard is comprised of Postal Police officers who, in addition to their regular duties to protect and serve, volunteer to honor the United States and its ideals through coordinated processions.

“Our uniformed presence means something. It brings attention and order to the start of any ceremony,” said Capt. Andre McCamey, who is in charge of the Postal Police’s Washington, DC, division, which established the honor guard in 2001.

The honor guard is often asked to open and close events such as stamp dedication activities, Postmaster installation ceremonies and graduation ceremonies for postal leadership programs.

Employees can also request the honor guard for other events like veterans’ appreciation ceremonies and retirement dinners.

“We use different commands to get us ready to move and perform,” said Sgt. Sherri Offer, the Washington division’s honor guard coordinator, who called the commands at a recent Marvin Gaye stamp dedication event in Washington, DC.

“There are commands to start marching and stop marching [and] commands to present the colors, raise our flags and present our weapons.”

The U.S. flag, the highest honor the guard carries, is raised. The guard also carries the Postal Service flag and the Postal Inspection Service flag if at least five officers are present at the event.

In addition, two officers-at-arms place their weapons in a saluting position, while all other flags come to a 45-degree angle from the officers’ bodies.

In San Juan, PR, part of the Postal Police’s Newark division, the honor guard is led by Lt. Eduardo Colon-Roquez, who received permission to form the unit in 2004. In addition to the U.S. and Postal Service flags, San Juan honor guard officers carry flags to represent Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“The honor guard is a way to express our contribution to the Postal Service other than the security we provide,” said Colon-Roquez.

Being a member of the honor guard requires commitment and dedication, McCamey said.

“After working all day, you may have to stay late, or come in on your day off to participate,” he said. “You have to be flexible.”

Offer is proud of the honor guard’s role.

“We serve as ambassadors to the public and present a positive image of service,” she said.

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