'Taking Chance' - Present Arms/Order Arms

Discussion in 'US' started by RP578, Jul 30, 2010.

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  1. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    Just come across this clip from 'Taking Chance' (which looks like a very good film) and was wondering about the USMC Colonel's commands to Present and Order Arms. What followed was a raising and bringing down of a salute in slow time. Is this just for the dead or is this a US Military way of presenting arms whilst not actually bearing arms?
  2. It is for ceremonial purposes only.
  3. I remember reading this account of Chance Phelps a long time ago.


    At the time I wondered why we couldn't get behind our troops like this.

    Be aware that the link is a bit like FHM and other mens mags.
  4. Not having seen the film since I know my limitations, I do not know if it indicated that the procedure (and in my experience much of the honors afforded by everyday Americans) chronicled in the film and in the original article by LtCol Strobl is done in exactly the same manner for every US Marine KIA. I was hono(u)red to perform that solemn duty 19 times (most in connection with the Beirut Marine Barracks Bombing in 1983) as a young major and ltcol.
  5. Better not say that in the clear on here. ;-) I am in the NE corner.
  6. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    Thank you JJH. I had never heard of the film until I stumbled onto the trailer on YouTube. I am one of those cold unsentimental types, but even those short clips just really got to me. Couldn't help but think of my dead platoon mates and how we carried their bodybags on to the chinook. We didn't have any opportunity for ceremony then because the IDF threat limited the Chopper's 'wheels down' time, but I'd like to think that they were handled with that kind respect when they got back to rear echelon.

    On a more lighthearted note, the film once again displays the vast superiority of the USMC Service A uniform over the US Army's Class A's with beret! Kevin Bacon looked as smart as a Guardsman!
  7. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    Looks like a good film, I like Kevin Bacon's work anyway. I have ordered it today.

    It will be interesting to see how the American film industry currently deals with comabt casualties and I will be able to compare this with the Vietnam War film 'Gardens of Stone' with James Caan and James Earl Jones, which I thoroughly enjoyed and have a copy of.
  8. Apologies in advance if my lack of eloquence upsets anyone, I definitely don't mean to offend with this.
    I think there is an element of the pendulum swinging the other way from the post-vietnam thing.
    I don't know how widespread it was but watching any Hollywood/TV output the range of behaviour from indifference to hostility shown to returning Vets is very clearly and repeatedly signposted. Most of the people depicted would have been children at the time the media were processing this and I think would have taken on the unspoken moral of the story.
    Regardless of their personal beliefs about the conflict the seviceperson died in everyone now knows they need to distinguish between sin and sinner (or sinned against I suppose).
  9. I've clocked up 400 funerals, but never did an escort. Was offered a job as a casualty notification officer, but I just don't have the stomach for it. Coward of me, I know. I can't imagine anyone would -want- to do it.

    But to answer the question, three seconds up, three seconds down for salutes at funerals. It's not in the drill manual per se, but there's a guide which the Old Guard puts out.

  10. Agreed-after the 19th one I had to ask to be relieved. The only time I ever did that and why I can not now go to the film for example.

    I believe the "3 second" timing is based also on the official (at least in the USMC drill manual) funeral cadence of 60 paces per minute.
  11. Tragic to think of all of this respect and careful procedure to honor the dead - who were then buried in the wrong graves plots etc at Arlington. I was quite cross listening to the news item on Friday about this. Arlington is a fantastically interesting and moving memorial.
  12. Indeed. Gives one some pause to consider government the end all and be all for our every need when even for something as important as Arlington we can't do better than that.
  13. I never had any great issues with the funerals themselves. By that point, the family had pretty much come to terms with what happened. Especially, of course, for the old WWII or Korean War vets, the funeral and after-party were often fairly light-hearted affairs. I think the worst of it was meeting one casket of a KIA at the airport, as it was being offloaded from the 'plane one of the relatives, grandmother, I think, basically held on to me and wailed 'why?!', looking right at me. That's one of those things they don't teach you at Officer School, and wasn't really covered in the funeral training either.

  14. Each has its own dynamics. Some of the last I did were especially hard in that they were from the Beirut Barracks attack and it was beyond my ability to offer any meaningful explanation as to why and how it happened. Another result of military forces having a "mission" of "presence" in the middle of a bubbling cauldron of sectarian and every other sort of violence.
  15. I visited Arlington while on holiday with my family a few years ago. An incredibly moving experience. While we were there a funeral procession passed us and I felt awful, I felt we were intruding on a private moment in a families sorrow. We just stood still until it had passed in honour of the families loss but it still didn't feel right.

    I would though still suggest that people visit as it is an incredible showcase for the cost of war, which I think all people should witness.