With the encouragement of Training Officer Gary Warren Sr., a group of about seven people started a
formal honor guard in 1991. Prior to this, if a need arose for a formal ceremony a call would go out to those who had dress uniforms to assist in the event. Although the newly-formed honor guard was dedicated, the first year was not easy. Most of the members had little or no formal training in drill and ceremony. With a dream of competing in the National Competition which was held during the Fire Department Instructors Conference, they enlisted the help of Ray Reese. Having recently left the Air Force, Ray had served on an honor guard and donated his time to become Drill Sergeant for the group. After three months of practicing two to three times a week, the Honor Guard won its first national championship, beating out defending champion, Atlanta, Georgia.
Following their impressive start with three more National Championships (1993, 1999, and 2000) as well as a second place finish (1998) and a third place finish (1997), the Honor Guard continues to be recognized as one of the finest Fire Department Honor Guards in the nation.
The Columbia Fire Department Honor Guard has performed at various events, including trips to the National Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland, opening sporting events at the University of Missouri, and functions with President George Bush and Missouri Governors Ashcroft and Carnahan. They routinely perform in local parades and opening ceremonies around the state as well as funerals of fire department members.
For information about the Honor Guard contact:
Lt. Tracy Gray