The Marine Corps League of Woodstock Ceremonial Rifle Team completed its 200th military funeral honors this fall. The team has been in action just since May 16.
Retired MSgt. John Newport, founder and Detail Commander, told the Ceremonial Rifle Team that “we are once again reminded of our dedication and commitment to ensuring all of our deceased veterans receive their final honors whenever possible. Not one individual has resigned from the team. We have completed 100% of the missions requested by the Georgia National Cemetery, Military Funeral Coordinators, Funeral Directors or the deceased Veteran's Next of Kin."
While by far most of the team's missions have been in the Georgia National Cemetery near Canton, the team has traveled all over Georgia - Stevens, Rome, Columbus, Albany, Carrollton, Marietta, Alpharetta, Griffin, Stockbridge, Decatur, Winston and Calhoun to honor veterans at their burials.
"(We've been) to some places where even our GPS's didn't recognize. We have conducted honors in small private cemeteries and large cemeteries; on farms, in funeral homes, in small church graveyards, in large public cemeteries, and in churches," Newport said. "We have conducted honors in extreme heat, extreme cold, monsoon-type rains, blowing snow and blowing pollen. We have buried the young and the old; the homeless, the famous; those with no known next of kin; the cremains of those fallen warriors, whose ashes have been abandoned and sitting on shelves of funeral homes for years.”
The Ceremonial Rifle Team of these dedicated Marine Veterans, 15 men, and a woman, all who have served on active duty in the past, consider it their duty, as well as a privilege to continue to serve in this capacity, Newport said.