SC PGR Mission Protocol – January 2020
The information below should be read and received as a refresher for older members and important operational guidelines for new members.
When a fallen Hero with ties to South Carolina is Killed in Action (KIA) or a First Responder in killed in the Line of Duty (LOD), it is very important for everyone in the SC PGR to have patience. The leadership of the SC PGR has to have time to receive an invitation from the family, contact the CAO and coordinate with the funeral home, law enforcement, and/or military services to attend the funeral. Many times information is frequently changing and must be confirmed with multiple sources. This takes time. Once the information is gathered and prepared, it will be published as a PGR mission once protocol has been followed.
Members SHOULD NOT make an attempt to contact a family, a funeral home, etc….unless directed so by the State Captain, Assistant State Captain, or Ride Captain in Charge.
If you are friends with the family of a fallen Hero or Veteran, first make contact with the State Captain, Assistant State Captain, or a Ride Captain in your area to gain instructions on how to proceed.
Please refrain from posting information that you see in the news or that you obtain from various different sources. The places, dates, and times are subject to change numerous times prior to the visitation and funeral. Let the SC, ASC, or RCIC communicate all changes to mission information. This helps prevent mass confusion.
The State Captain, Assistant State Captain, and Ride Captain in Charge, of a particular mission will make all information available as soon as possible. This information will go out in a statewide email from the national website to all registered members in SC. It will be posted in the National SC FORUM and will also be posted in the SCPGR Facebook group.
Please show courtesy to our captains when they are working on a funeral or event. Please do not bombard their email accounts with questions. If you have a question seek out a mentor for assistance.
Many new members ask, “What do I wear to a mission? Remember WCR….. Dress according to the Weather. Dress for Comfort. Dress for Respect.
Below is our mission protocol
Ride captains will generally go over these things at mission briefings, so it is important to attend.
- When you get your flag from the flag wagon Please let it fly freely! Don’t roll it back up until you return to the flag wagon. It deserves to fly freely. The men and women who died serving under it deserves for it to fly freely.
- Please keep it up right and don’t let it touch the ground. Always show respect toward our flag.
- The Ride Captain will give instructions on where to stand in the flag line; it is different at each mission so please pay attention during the briefings. Additionally, please show patience while the Ride Captain sets the flag line as it may change or shift a few times.
- The staging area is where we catch up with each other, laugh and talk etc… Once we stand up the flag line please keep talking to a bare minimum. Some missions may require the Ride Captain to request no talking at all. This is a somber occasion and one of the most difficult days a family will ever face. Please show them respect. Also, ensure patches on vests regarding obscene or profane pictures or text are covered. Rule of thumb is anything you wouldn’t want to explain to a 10-year should be removed (vest) or taped over during the mission.
- PLEASE TURN YOUR CELL PHONES OFF OR SET THEM TO VIBRATE BEFORE YOU GET READY TO STAND IN THE FLAG LINE.
- If you must talk on your phone please remove yourself from the flag line to do so. Our Ride Captains aren’t shy; they will request you remove yourself if you don’t. Think respect and you won’t go wrong.
- Please remove yourself from the flag line to smoke, please field strip cigarettes and dispose of remains properly.
- Please follow the SC PGR picture policy. You may make photos of the bikes in the staging area, other members, etc, clear with the RCIC before taking ANY photos.
- WE NEED TO EMPHASIZE IT IS AGAINST OUR POLICY TO TAKE PHOTOS OF THE FAMILY, FLAG DRAPED COFFIN, COFFIN, OR HEARSE. IF A SPECIAL REQUEST HAS BEEN MADE BY A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY NOTIFY THE RIDE CAPTAIN IN CHARGE AND OBTAIN HIS/HER APPROVAL. DOING OTHERWISE IS CONSIDERED HIGHLY DISRESPECTFUL. WE CAN NOT HOWEVER CONTROL WHAT THE MEDIA OR BYSTANDERS DO, OUR JOB IS HONOR AND RESPECT! Maximum 5 photos per individual.
- We take pride in what we do. We should strive to leave a staging area or flag line area as clean if not cleaner than we found it. Please ensure you police the area where you stand picking up water bottles etc. The members who bring flags generally have a place for trash.
- During a mission the Ride Captain may announce *PRESENT ARMS*. At that time Veterans may salute, other members of the flag line should place their right hand over their heart to show respect. Normally times to salute are anytime the flag draped casket/urn is moving, during the firing of volleys, and during the playing of Taps. Also, at other events you may salute during the National Anthem and when colors (U.S. Flag) pass by and/or are posted by a color guard.
- While standing the flag line you may hold the flag in any hand which is most comfortable with you, although in SC we prefer the left, so as to free the right hand to salute, shake hands, etc.
- Unless you have an emergency please be respectful of the family and do not crank your bikes or leave the cemetery until dismissed by THE RIDE CAPTAIN IN CHARGE. If you know in advance that you will have to leave the cemetery prior to the conclusion of a graveside service it would be best for you to forgo riding to the cemetery. WHILE EACH MISSION IS DIFFERENT, many times WE WILL CRANK OUR BIKES IN UNISON TO GIVE ONE FINAL SALUTE PGR STYLE IN HONOR OF OUR HEROES, FALLEN AND VETERANS ALIKE….REMEMBER HONOR RESPECT AND DIGNITY!
Some Abbreviations you may see:
SC.…State Captain……..Each state has one State Captain.
ASC...Assistant State Captain…..A state can have more than one Assistant State Captain; SC does.
RC…Ride Captain… Experienced members who the State Captain has appointed to take charge of funerals and events.
RCIC….Ride Captain in Charge….the specified Ride Captain in Charge of a particular mission.
Mentor...Experienced members who take new members and teach them the ropes of being a Patriot Guard Rider. They are always helpful in answering questions and guiding new members on what to expect at missions.
MRC… Mission Ride Captain ………Sometimes when there is not a ride captain available, a mentor, or experienced member will be assigned the duties of being in charge of a mission or event.
HOTH…. Help on the Home front……..Each state has one HOTH Coordinator. Some states have HOTH assistants. Help on the Home front was established to help veterans in need and also to provide support to our wounded warriors once back home.
CAO…..Casualty Assistance Officer
KSU.…..Kick Stands Up
KIA….Killed in Action
ETA….Estimated Time of Arrival
TBA….To Be announced
UG….Unwanted or Uninvited Guest.
LEO….Law Enforcement Officer
Black Hat….PGR National Officers
Red Hat…….State Captain and Assistant State Captains
Maroon Hat….Ride Captain
Green Hat….HOTH Coordinator
Blue Hat – The MOST important hat!!! The members that hold the flag line
Semper Gumby.…always flexible
Listen for the Rumble…………….. our state motto
If you have any questions seek out a mentor closest to you. You may find a list of ride captains and mentors under documents of this group or you make contact Melissa Stevens: firstname.lastname@example.org
Document edited and approved by Bruce Ballou South Carolina Patriot Guard State Captain.
Document adopted by Joe Padgett, South Carolina Patriot Guard Ride Captain 1 January 2014.
Document adopted by Ray Richards, South Carolina Patriot Guard State Captain – 1 January 2020