Wisconsin State Captain

John CurranJohn Curran
Member since 02-24-2006

Wisconsin Tips & Guidelines

Just a Note

But an Important One

We only have one requirement in our organization – Respect. It doesn’t say respect for a veteran or respect for an active duty military hero or respect for the family. It is respect for everyone. Ride Captains are schooled in the hierarchy of command for whose directions and requests we follow but the simplest concept is that as members we respect everyone. I have heard people complain about Law Enforcement telling people where to park, complaints about Funeral Directors that put us in a certain place in an escort and, the most disturbing, members bad mouthing other members. All unacceptable. If I witness, or receive multiple confirmed complaints of, any failure to meet the requirement of Respect, you will be told to leave the line and the organization.

If you have a problem, address it with that individual. If you do not get a satisfactory solution, and it is about the policy or operation of a mission, take it to the Ride Captain (off the line). If you still are not satisfied, contact me. After that, there is the Regional Captain, then National. No Officer will address an issue unless you have taken the above steps.

One Requirement



Category: Wisconsin

The responsibility for determining if we are to attend services for fallen active duty military personnel, a military veteran, Law Enforcement Officer or First responder falls to the State Captain, Assistant State Captain or an official designee. At no time shall anyone else contact the family or a military casualty staff member to initiate a mission.

  1. We are here to HONOR and RESPECT a fallen soldier and his/her family. We are invited guests of the family, please act accordingly.
  2. Observe the same decorum you would exhibit if you were attending a funeral for your loved one. Any disruptive behavior will not be tolerated and you will be asked, respectfully, to leave. Should your behavior be excessive, aggressive or disrespectful to ANYONE it will be documented and you may be removed from the organization.
  3. There will be time before and after the mission to visit, admire bikes, and swap stories. It’s an honor to stand a flag line or be part of an Honor Guard. Give it the respect it deserves.
  4. Standing for long periods can be overwhelming so we allow a quiet conversation in the flag line but when the family is close by or guests are leaving or arriving, remain silent.
  5. Keep noise level respectful at all times. This includes speech anywhere on the property, operation of any vehicle in an excessively loud manner including the playing of music in procession.
  6. We do not interact with any other groups that cause disruption in any way, shape, or form. We respect ourselves, the PGR, and foremost the mourning family. This includes signs made to show our displeasure with any other groups.
  7. Turn off all cell phones, pagers, and other devices or leave them in your vehicle. If you need to, set the device on silent/vibrate and excuse yourself to handle the call.
  1. The Flag is to be presented with respect. The flag shall not touch the ground or any other surface.
  2. PGR Flag Holding Guidance:
    1. Do not allow the flag to touch the ground.
    2. Do not hold the flag upside down or backward.
    3. Do not allow the flag to drape over you, bushes, trees, or the facility.
    4. Carry the flag straight up and down as you walk to and from the flag line.
    5. Unroll and roll up the flag at staging area, not walking to or from the flag line.
    6. You may hold the flag in either hand and may have to switch due to fatigue and wind; it is advantageous to hold with your left hand at times where we will render honors (to salute or remove your cover) or when we may be greeted by family, friends, or dignitaries.

There are additional U.S. Flag Code details in the PGR Forums.

  1. There is no smoking, drinking, or eating in the flag line. Fluids for hydration are fine, when the time is appropriate. Feel free to take a break if you need to. If you need a break to smoke, you should return to the staging area or another area out of site of the family and attendees. The same applies E-cigs or vape devices.
  2. Follow the Ride Captains directions at all times.
  3. We obey any and all directions of local and state Law Enforcement Officers, and remember they have a difficult job to do. If you feel that a request by any law officer is inappropriate, bring it to the attention of the Ride Captain, but remember that sometimes we just have to do what we have to do because of the higher calling of our Mission.
  4. Wait until the Ride Captain has addressed ride protocol – mainly large flagged bikes in the front, two abreast column, staggered formation and always be alert of the bike/vehicle in front of you. This type of riding is difficult if you are not familiar with it. Do not get impatient and get out of line, we want to be perceived as cohesive and a single-minded group.
  5. Photos
  1. Once the mission begins, no photos may be taken.
  2. No photos may be taken of the casket, family, or attendees. The only exception to this would be if the family requests that we make a photo record of the event. If you get this request, convey it to RCIC as soon as possible and he may designate a person to take pictures.
  3. Do not take pictures in or of the flag line, the mission has begun at that point.

Rendering Honors
As a final point, every branch of the service handles this differently and none address the public. We will follow the guidelines below:

In the rendering of Honors, the Ride Captain may defer to the commands of any active military command, any veterans organization, or any Law Enforcement unit. Should these not be present or effective, the Ride Captain may take this role personally or assign a member to “Call it” according to the following.

  1. We will call to “Attention”, that being, fully standing if possible, flag in left hand facing the casket or family path:
    1. Upon the approach of the family.
    2. Upon arrival of the incoming procession and will maintain that posture until the casket and family is inside the facility and doors are closed.
    3. Upon approach of the Honor Guard and casket at the end of the service. We will maintain that posture until the coach doors are closed and the family has left the immediate area.
    4. At the cemetery or burial site, upon arrival of the incoming procession and we will maintain that stature until the casket is secure and family is seated.
  1. We will call to Present Arms, that being that the flag shall be held in the left hand, all covers shall be removed by non-veterans with the right hand and held over the heart or by a military salute by those active duty and veterans who choose to do so (those rendering a salute do not remove their cover):
    1. At the opening of a coach door which exposes the casket. We will maintain that posture until the casket and family is inside the facility and doors are closed.
    2. Upon approach of the Honor Guard and casket at the end of the service. We will maintain that posture until the coach doors are closed and the family has left the immediate area.
    3. At the cemetery or burial site, upon arrival of the incoming procession and we will maintain that stature until the casket is secure and family is seated.
    4. Under special circumstances, when the Veteran’s casket/urn is moved out of the chapel after the presentation of the flag and placed into the motorized carriage for placement. It’s our final show of respect for our Hero.
  2. We will call to “Order Arms” after the above conditions are complete. Anyone holding a military salute will complete the salute and covers may be worn again.


Our personal condolences and comments should be entered in the mission listing. Please wait until the State Captain posts a Ride Report in the Forums section and then add your comments. Stay respectful and positive. Do not mention protesters. The forum will be read by the family they deserve to remember it honorably.

Our mission remains critical and we have much work left to do. Please remember that having the opportunity to make a difference in the life of another person or family is a rare privilege and we owe it to those that entrust this to us to do the very best we can. We owe no less to those that have gone in harm’s way to protect our way of life and our very freedom.

Category: Wisconsin

Rendering Hand Salute of U.S. Flag – TITLE 4, Chapter 1, Section 9, was amended by the The National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 and contained an amendment to allow un-uniformed service members, military retirees, and veterans to render a hand salute during the hoisting, lowering, or passing of the U.S. flag. A later amendment further authorized hand-salutes during the national anthem by veterans and out-of-uniform military personnel. This was included in the Defense Authorization Act of 2009, which President Bush signed on Oct. 14, 2008.

Here is the actual text from the law:

§9. Conduct during hoisting, lowering or passing of flag

During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.

Note: No person, not having served in the military has earned the right to salute the flag and should not do so. Those who have served consider it “stolen valor”. I have seen, but not researched, the statement that those under Court Martial and those with Dishonorable Discharge lose the privilege of saluting. Respect those who have served, only they have earned the right.

Category: Wisconsin

When the PGR started, every member was always asked to be prepared and bring a flag, dress for the occasion, and stay hydrated, etc. Flags rigs ranged from discount store kits on two piece poles to commercial ceremonial quality on 8 foot oak poles. We had a number of flags donated by a neighboring state by a family for whom they attended a mission. At that time we built “standard” flags to share with the areas around the state. While these are usually available, members should always be prepared and here are a few choices.

If you ride, you want something that is safe on the bike. Some members have their bike flag rigged to come off to stand at a mission. Please make sure that it is secure when on the bike and it should always be tested for highway speeds before the mission. While the plans may be for a slow procession, routes may change and remember that riding 30 mph into a 30 mph wind is a 60 mph load on the flag and the rig. Failure of the rig can be fatal for anyone following.

You may find various collapsible poles to which you can attach a flag. I have seen painter’s poles and golf ball retrievers that are quite compact. My preference is actually made by a company that started manufacturing golf ball retrievers and now makes a product called Hide-a-pole. It collapses to 16” and extends to 6 ½ feet. While we don’t allow direct promotion on this site, they are easy to find by web search and mention that you are PGR for special pricing.

Many members ask about our standard flag set-up as we are getting more and more missions where our PGR flags may not be available. This might be quite easy if you can talk a local plumber into whipping one up as there are materials most folks will never need again. It would take them about 2 minutes (you might have to take to acetone in). Here’s how to build your own:

Pole material is 1 inch white PVC pipe from any hardware or home improvement store (sold in 10 foot lengths for about $3). You will also need a male and female screw coupling, 2 plain end caps, PVC cement, and some acetone, ketone or finger nail polish remover, two cable ties, and a 3 x 5 foot flag.
Cut the pipe into 2 sections 4 feet long each.

Use acetone, ketone or finger nail polish remover to take the lettering and markings off the pipe.
Attach the female coupling to the end of one piece, the male end to the other piece.
Attach an end cap to open side of each piece. The PGR poles are left open on one end to fit over stakes but this will make personal poles distinctive.

Drill one hole for a cable tie just below the top cap.

I suggest at this point that you attach the flag to the top hole with the cable tie.
Stretch the flag toward the bottom and drill a second hole in line with the first about 2 inches further than the grommet on the flag. This will keep the flag tight, allow for material stretching and variation should you have to replace the flag.

Write your name or put a return address label on both pieces to make sure you can always identify it if there’s a mix-up.

Category: Wisconsin

I’m regularly asked about vests and back patches and what to wear to a mission. While slightly different concepts, I’d like to combine the answers.

First, in attending a mission I suggest you remember two things, whether you’re there for someone who was active duty or a veteran, you are attending the funeral to show respect for someone who was willing to give their life to support America and her values and second, you are an invited guest of the family.

I ask that you dress as you feel appropriate. Unlike some other organizations, we have no standard dress code to follow. It’s also important to dress for all possible weather to keep yourself comfortable and protected against the elements.

While the family understands that many PGR members are bikers, and they accept that, we do not allow obscene patches or slogans. It is common that people express their political and personal views on their clothing but this is not the time or place. You may be asked by the Ride Captain to cover obscene or derogatory patches or stow the clothing item.

You can have a patch on the back of a vest or jacket but you CANNOT put rockers above and below as that signifies a motorcycle club and there are specific social rules about that. Wisconsin doesn’t have a large state patch but national has the large PGR emblem. You could have other memorial and slogan patches above and below but nothing like ‘Patriot Guard Riders” above and “Wisconsin” below.

We also have small state patches and stickers. They’re shown on our state web site. If you need some you can order them from out “store” there as described on the web site.

Remember that our Mission is to Show Respect in everything we do and you’ll be fine.

Category: Wisconsin

Here’s just a little information to get you started. Patriot Guard Riders, Inc is an international organization. You join through national and usually associate yourself with one state. Some states have separated to create their own non-profit corporations but Wisconsin is part of the national organization.

If you haven’t joined yet, go to the national website at www.patriotguard.org and click on the menu option that says Login/Join. You MUST complete the fields so we include you in mailings. After registering and logging in, select the menu option Members -> Subscribe to PGR MIssions. You must select Wisconsin listed under region or you will not get statewide e-mails.

If you have registered with national, please also take just a moment to send me: last name, first name, username, e-mail, street address, city, state, zip, and phone. We are attempting to keep backup information as our national database has been overwhelmed, it was designed for  the lofty goal of 10,000 members, and we are near 285,000 and growing.  Once you have joined through the national web site www.patriotguard.org and log-in (I suggest you click the box for auto login) , you can then go click the Go to your Home State Page to bring you to this page.

We have a dedicated web site at www.patriotguard-wi.org. The national site is still the official word but our site includes only items of interest in Wisconsin and the events listed there take you directly to the correct spot on the national site. You must be signed in to national to be taken to the right information. I suggest you sign in to the national site and click the little box that says [ ] Remember Me. Afterwards you can go directly to the Wisconsin state page. If you have any software that “cleans” your machine or if you delete cookies this will be deleted and you’ll have to sign in (and click the box) again.

As far as finding missions, it’s actually simple. First, when a mission is confirmed, I have an e-mail sent to everyone in the state. Second, they are listed on our web site and, for the national site, you can go to Members -> Upcoming Missions and use the tags to filter for Wisconsin, or you can go directly to the Wisconsin State Page, and see a listing of the upcoming and recently completed missions.

There are two things to do to stay informed of events in Wisconsin. I suggest you log-in and select Members -> Subscribe to PGR Missions and subscribe to Wisconsin missions. You should also watch our web site or the missions listed on the right side of the state page. I do issue a “Statewide Email” to announce missions when they are confirmed. In order to get into the member forums and respond to any events you must be a member and can only respond on the national site. If you are sent an e-mail with a link and it does not take you to the right place, you probably are not logged in.

Many new members ask about our “ride schedule” or meetings. If you have read the Mission Statement on the national site, you will notice that we are a service organization providing honor guards and escorts at the funerals of the fallen and providing other support for all active military and veterans as we have resources, therefore we don’t do rides or meetings separate from our Missions and Events. We do have a number of events that you will find on the web site from “Meet and Greet” gatherings to participation in other events like Veteran’s recognition events but we are not a “motorcycle club” so being in a van, car or truck is great. We also have a definite need for support vehicles that could carry flags (we have extras in every region) and a cooler with water in the summer and eventually some simple tools and first aid kit.

We also have some projects we’d like some help with:

  1. If you can occasionally help a stranded member, even if it’s only directions or getting them help on the road, please sign up for the Red, White, and Blue Book. Check the Wisconsin Forum for information.
  2. I’d like to create a “WI PGR owners manual / frequently asked questions” so if there is anything that confused you when you started (or still does today) let me know so we can address it. I still have alot of people that don’t know about forums and mission threads.
  3. Support vehicles – so many feel bad about “caging it” driving a car, truck, or mini van. WE NEED YOU more than you know. We still need a lot of people who would be willing to bring the extra flags and water and possible tools and first aid kits to a mission.

John Curran
State Captain
Patriot Guard Riders – Wisconsin

Category: Wisconsin

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