The Executive Committee, with Cemetery Director Scott Lamb participating, conducted a conference call on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, and unanimously voted to resume rendering Military Funeral Honors on Monday, June 15, 2020.
An HGA IMPLEMENTATION PLAN has been created defining daily protocols and procedures during this enhanced health and safety period, complying with National Cemetery Administration Funeral Honors health and safety guidelines specifically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Implementation Plan highlights:
1. Squad composition will be limited to ten members: Flag Detail (max 3); Rifle Detail (Detail Leader and max 5); Bugler.
2. Physical distancing, wearing of face masks and disinfecting procedures will be followed
3. Cemetery Director will provide the following for Honor Guard personnel:
a. Tent area and seating adjacent to the Squad Room for assembly and break periods
b. Two Portable toilets, handwash stations and sanitizer stations adjacent to tent area and between Committal Shelters
4. Squad parking will continue to be in employee parking lot
5. Honor Guard bus will be available daily with limited seating
6. Access to Squad Room will be limited to Squad Leader, Rifle Team Leader and rifle cleaning team, and Bugler
The Cemetery Director has notified funeral homes of HGA resumption of Honors and anticipates increase in daily services resulting from multiple families awaiting resumption of HGA participation in Military Funeral Honors.
Squad members should contact their Squad Leader for any questions or request for additional information.
Don Boone, Acting Commander
Click HERE to download a copy of the HGA Implementation Plan
To: All members of the Saratoga National Cemetery Honor Guard Assoc.
From: The SNCHGA Executive Board
We are all aware the Covid 19 virus is overwhelming all aspects of our lives. This is a very dangerous virus and serious health risk. The Veterans Administration is working diligently to protect all personnel who come in contact with others at any of their facilities, including the National Cemeteries. Scott Lamb, Director of the Gerald BH Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery has indicated there are measures/changes being implemented on a daily basis to minimize the spread of the virus to his employees and all visitors to the cemetery.
It is the intention of our officers to encourage safe practices by all our members and their families, following the recommendations of the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and any directives by New York State or local governments.
As such, it has been decided by the Honor Guard Executive Board, effective Monday March 16, 2020 and until further notice, to cease all Honor Guard activities at the cemetery and elsewhere. This decision was not easily reached, but was done so in an abundance of caution to protect our members. We will provide no military honors, color guard activities, or hold any meetings until notified by the Commander. With daily changes being instituted by federal, state and local agencies regarding group gatherings, it may not be long until the decision is no longer ours. The cemetery director is currently recommending direct to site burials to all funeral directors. He will also be advising funeral directors of our decision. As of today there has been no change in policy by Active Duty Military personnel.
It has been suggested that we offer to do a combined ceremony later in the year for any delayed ceremonial interments, or direct burials, similar to the “unclaimed veteran” services performed by the Patriot Guard. This would include full honors including rifle salute, taps and flag and shells presented to any families not already afforded such honors. We may also provide individual honors. A decision on when and what will be determined in the future. We must remain flexible to whatever is decided and directed over the next few weeks and months and above all, protect the health and safety of our members.
The Executive Leadership
To download this notice, click HERE