Memorial Day – Marine Corps Body Bearers

The US Marine Corps being Marines do things differently. This includes their burial details which differ from that of all the other armed services. For instance, they only use six casket bearers and not the usual eight that the other services use. As such, the Marines selected for this position tend to be, shall we say, beefy.

Before they are selected for the Body Bearers Section, Marines go through months of training at the Ceremonial Drill School. The average training time for a Marine before being selected as a Body Bearer is from six to 12 months. To be selected, the Marine must be a corporal or lower in rank and pass exacting strength standards.

They call themselves “the last to let you down”.

Memorial Day 2020

Memorial Day this year is different. While the country is starting to reopen from government-ordered quarantines and stay-at-home orders, there won’t be the parades, Boy Scouts haven’t been allowed to put out flags at veterans graves, and access to Arlington National Cemetery is restricted to family members with the requisite passes.

Some things will remain as they always have. The Tomb Guards from the Third Infantry Regiment will still guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The difference this year is that they will do it without spectators.

Perhaps this is how it should be. The solemnity of their job as sentinels for the fallen is not to impress the tourists but to honor those who died for this country who are known only to God.