SoCal Patriot Guard Riders

So Cal Patriot Guard Riders

Mission Protocol

The Purpose of The Patriot Guard

The Patriot Guard attends Fallen Soldier military funerals to show honor and respect to our country’s fallen heroes, their families, and their communities, and to shield them from protesters. We attend the funeral as invited guests of the Fallen Soldier’s family. We stand guard for the Fallen Soldiers of our military service branches. A Fallen Soldier is defined as a KIA or Casualty of War of the current war conflicts. The Patriot Guard uses American Flags to create a shield at the funeral service and a perimeter around the cemetery service.

• Patriot Guard leadership team consists of State Captain(s), Ride Captains and Chaplain.
• Ride Captains handle the line-up of the missing man formation and/or the motorcycle flag honor guard columns at the staging areas, and directs the flag lines at the funeral services.
• Road guards help lead the processions to the funeral sites and help control traffic.
• Cages haul water and snacks for the flag line participants.
• Flag truck drivers transport flag poles with 3 by 5 foot American Flags.
• Chaplains offer prayer at the staging area and on request elsewhere during missions.
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Mission Planning
• State Captain and/or Ride Captain will perform the following tasks to plan the mission:
• Contact the family and the military Casualty Assistance Officer. (CAO)
• Contact Law Enforcement Officers (LEO) and funeral directors.
• Maintain ongoing contact with the family, CAO, LEO, and funeral directors.
• Perform a recon mission to scout the church and cemetery before the funeral date.
• Choose appropriate staging areas that provide fuel, food and restroom services. Obtain permission from the staging area owners for Patriot Guard Riders to use the site.
• Work with LEO to choose a safe procession route.
• If requested, arrange and provide escort from airport to funeral home.
• Arrange for flag line participation for funeral home visitation.
• Create the “ride itinerary” that is posted on the website and emailed to members.
• Plan for line-up at the funeral site no less than 1 hour prior to start of the funeral service.
• Arrange for flag truck to transport flags to cemetery after funeral service starts.

Mission Staging Area
• All participants should arrive at the designated final staging area prior to the mission briefing. During the briefing the procedures will be explained.
• Participants will be directed to the correct parking area.
• Motorcycles – two-wheel – will be lined up in columns of two.
• Motorcycles with large flags will be placed at the front.
• Motorcycles without flags will follow.
• Trikes follow the two-wheel motorcycles.
• Tribute vehicles will follow Trikes.
• Cages will follow Tribute vehicles.

Mission Participants
• Listen closely to the Mission briefing that is delivered by the Ride Captain.
• Questions will be answered at the staging area. The intent is for everyone to know what to do and where to go so that the mission runs smoothly.
• Bear in mind that the best-made plans can fall through, so we will remain flexible and deal with any obstacles that arise.

Ride Procession to the Funeral Site
• Whenever possible the procession to the funeral site will be led by Law Enforcement and/or professional motor escorts.
• The Road Guards will follow them, and lead the Flag Honor Guard. It is their job to read the traffic and if requested help the LEO keep us safe.
• Motorcycle processions travel in columns of two, staggered on freeways and if possible, side by side on surface streets.
• Automobiles are single-file.
• Road Guards will have their flashers on.
• All others will have their headlights on.
• Automobiles will have lights on, and the last vehicle will also have flashers on. This alerts the LEO and Road Guards of the end of the procession.

Mission Parking
• We will line up our motorcycle color guard and all motorcycle columns in front of funeral/memorial building, and/or line the street and parking area.

Shielding the Family at the Funeral and Graveside Service
• We will stand shoulder to shoulder holding the American Flag, forming a shield between the funeral/memorial service and the protesters to protect the family of the fallen soldier.
• We will turn our backs on protesters and maintain silence unless otherwise directed. If requested, we recite patriotic slogans, pledges, sing patriotic songs, or play patriotic music.
• Under no circumstances should anyone speak to or have physical contact with the protesters.
• The flag line must maintain a solemn, reverent demeanor. No loud talking. Turn cell phones off. No smoking. If you need to do these things, please ask someone to relieve you so that you can take a break away from the flag line.
• After the funeral service starts, the flag truck and most of the Patriot Guard will depart for the cemetery to create a flag line or avenue of flags at the graveside.
• A motorcycle honor guard with flags will escort to the graveside.

Flags displayed during Processions and Escorts
• The motorcycle Flag Honor Guard will be displayed in the following order as prescribed by DoD Directive 1005.8
• American flags, State flags, Military Academies (if present), Army, Marine, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, POW/MIA, Guard and/or Reserve (if present), Military Divisions
• Other flags, if present, must follow the military service flags. This includes Veterans Service Organizations first, followed by any other flags, based on birth date of the organization.
• We comply with military procedure for flag display because these are military funerals. High-ranking military officers and military veterans attend and expect to see the proper flag protocol observed.
• When you hear the command ‘Present Arms’ those who are carrying flags will bring their flagpole from resting on the ground to their waist and keeping the flag upright and not tipping; those who are Veterans will salute and non-Veterans will place their right hand over their heart.
• When you hear the command ‘Order Arms’ flagpoles will return to the rest position and the rest will drop their salute.

• The only thunder heard will be the Patriot Guard arrival and departure at the funeral or memorial site.
• Engines will be turned off and will not be restarted until we leave.
• If the family requests thunder at the service, we will run motors at idle because 100 motors can provide plenty of thunder.