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Trussville Police and Fire come together to complete Honor Guard training

By Erica Thomas, editor

TRUSSVILLE  — The Trussville Fire Department and the Trussville Police Department have come together and completed Honor Guard Academy, provided by a renowned trainer.

The training for ceremonial units provides first responders with a solid foundation in colors presentations based on the American military standard. John K. Marshall, “The DrillMaster,” has trained numerous groups across the nation to help men and women adopt a uniform technique for ceremonies including funerals, parades, flag raisings and other events. He said graduates are now equipped to serve with other first responders across the country.

“They’ve earned the basic certification,” Marshall said. “In two years they could invite me back out, spend three days in training, earn the next level patch and then ultimately, four years from now, be master ceremonial guardsmen.”

During a mock-funeral, graduates showed spectators how pallbearers work together to move a flag-draped casket from a church to a burial site. Mayor Buddy Choat was there and sat with Fire Chief Tim Shotts and Police Chief Eric Rush as mock family members. The color guard and the firing party were incorporated throughout the memorial. Just before the American flag was folded and presented to a mock family member, the firing squad went through the motions of the three volleys salute, which consisted of each member of the party raising their weapon and firing shots three times in unison.

Marshall typically trains police and fire departments separately, but Trussville is unique in that the departments are working together on this training. This is the first honor guard unit for the city. They completed six weeks of training in just 40 hours. They are now certified United States ceremonial guardsman and they will eventually be able to train other units if they choose to do so. Chief Rush said he was impressed by the group and their hard work training for the certification.

Marshall is the author of “The Honor Guard Manual,” and other departments that would like to contact him can go to his website,


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