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GMC Cadets honor deceased veterans through honor guard

(GMC's junior college honor guard, Front Row: Alex Marroquin, Desjamebra Hames, Alexis Ullom, Jamacia Mitchell, Back Row: Kenneth Walker, Tyler Hawkins, Rashad Williams, Michael Eason, Jalil Allah, Demarcous Williams)

Some of GMC’s Junior College Cadets are serving their country by honoring those who have served before them. GMC has 10 State Service Cadets who travel the state providing an honor guard detail for deceased veterans. These cadets are members of the 48th Brigade in the Georgia National Guard and have been called upon to serve this mission. In 2016, several of the cadets provided details for nearly 100 funerals throughout the state. 19-year-old Cadet Desjamebra Hames says she enjoys honoring those who fought for our freedoms.

“Our mission is to honor the veterans,” said Cadet Desjamebra Hames. “We are more than just an honor guard. Our sole purpose is to honor the veteran.”

The cadets have specific ranks and assists the Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge (NCOIC) whose job is to run the military ceremony and present the flag to the veteran’s family. As an assistant, the cadets perform flag folding, a gun salute, and pallbearing. 19-year-old Cadet Alex Ullom says it’s an honor to honor the veterans.

“It’s an honor to honor the people who have fought for the country,” said Cadet Alex Ullom. “We would want the same thing. We put our life on the line, we signed our name on the contract, and once our time comes we would want to be remembered by someone in some kind of way for what we achieved in our life.”

To join the honor guard, the cadets were required to take a 40-hour course to receive their certificate. When they are notified to participate on a detail, they train at the Georgia Army National Guard Armory in Milledgeville. 20-year Cadet Michael Keeter says he joined the honor guard without any hesitation.

“One of the main things that drew me towards the funeral honors program was just the honor of the veterans that served our country and being able to present and fold the flag for one of our loss brothers and sisters in arms,” said Cadet Michael Keeter. “Just the honor in that itself was something that I was really drawn too. This is also something that can help further our careers in in the military as well because it’s seen as a huge honor to say that we were a part of the funeral honor guard.”