2014-01-24 / Community Events

Fort Gordon ISD completes post taskings, pay final tributes to veterans

By Bonnie Heater
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office


Staff Sgt. Joshua Wilson, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, makes an adjustment to the ceremonial American flag which Spc. Casey Loria and Spc. Mandy Majeed fold during practice Jan. 15 at the Fort Gordon Installation Support Detachment building. Sgt. John Sterling holds the flag firmly as Loria and Majeed unfold it. The flag is normally presented to a family member of a deceased veteran during a military funeral. Loria comes from the 67th Expeditionary Signal Battalion; Majeed and Sterling come from the 202nd Military Intelligence Battalion on Fort Gordon. 
Photo by Bonnie Heater/Fort Gordon Public Affairs Staff Sgt. Joshua Wilson, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, makes an adjustment to the ceremonial American flag which Spc. Casey Loria and Spc. Mandy Majeed fold during practice Jan. 15 at the Fort Gordon Installation Support Detachment building. Sgt. John Sterling holds the flag firmly as Loria and Majeed unfold it. The flag is normally presented to a family member of a deceased veteran during a military funeral. Loria comes from the 67th Expeditionary Signal Battalion; Majeed and Sterling come from the 202nd Military Intelligence Battalion on Fort Gordon. Photo by Bonnie Heater/Fort Gordon Public Affairs There’s a special unit on post that few people are aware of, or at least what they accomplish.

The Fort Gordon Installation Support Detachment is made up of 44 Soldiers from each of the organizations across the post. There is a permanent staff of two civilians that manage and run the detachment: Steven G. Goulet Sr., funerals and events manager; and Kenyetta Boxill, the administrative assistant. The Soldiers are attached for a period of 90 days to the ISD.

The ISD is an organization that can handle the majority of red cycle taskings that installation units would normally have to provide Soldier support for.

“By having these 44 Soldiers in the ISD on a 90-day rotation, post units do not have to provide additional support for red cycle taskings,” Steve Goulet said. “Some of these taskings include: funeral details, office moves, setup for events on post, flag set up and cannon salute battery Soldiers. This makes up our mission.”

They also provide military funeral honors team and an installation level color guard to conduct military funeral honors and memorial services, ceremonies and special events representing Fort Gordon and the U.S. Army. In addition, they train authorized provider partners in 49 counties across the Central Savannah River Area; provide audio and Soldier detail support for all ceremonies and special events directed by the garrison commander. Soldiers attached to the ISD are also responsible for managing the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security contingency barracks.

All Soldiers selected for this assignment must meet certain qualifications including height and weight standards set in Army Regulation 600-9. They must not have pending or have had Uniform Code of Military Justice charges within 90 days of assignment to the ISD and pass a urinalysis test, according to Goulet.

Once they come on board they must be available for duty at all times during the 90-day cycle and all the Soldiers must maintain a two hour recall window. Training for the ISD Soldiers is never ending. As part of their professional development, basic Soldiering tasks are taught each Tuesday with drill and ceremony training taking place every Thursday. In addition to the 44 attached Soldiers, there is an additional contingent of augmentees that are always on standby, according to Goulet. In order to maintain proficiency these Soldiers train every Tuesday for four hours at the ISD building.

The Soldiers are divided up into three honors teams of 12 Soldiers each, one set up team, and an administrative team. The three teams perform military honors ceremonies. In a full honors ceremony Soldiers can serve as pallbearers, as a member of the firing detail, or folding the U.S. flag and presenting it to a family member of the deceased veteran.

The three-person honor team is responsible for flag folding and presentation and one Soldier will play the ceremonial bugle for “Taps” during the funeral.

“ The most important mission the Soldiers attached to the ISD are responsible for is rendering honors recognizing the honorable and faithful service of our veterans who have gone on before us,” Goulet explained. “All of the Soldiers take a great deal of pride in ensuring that this is done to the very best of their ability with the utmost of dignity, reverence and respect.”

One of the most memorable events for two members of the ISD team took place December 2013. Goulet, who is also the coordinator for the Missing in America project for South Carolina, asked for volunteers and arranged for four Soldiers from the installation ISD to take part in a special burial in South Carolina. (The purpose of the MIA Project is to locate, identify and inter the unclaimed cremated remains of American veterans through the joint efforts of private, state and federal organizations, to provide honor and respect to those who have served this country by securing a final resting place for those forgotten heroes.)

Sgt. 1st Class Jose Caraballo, Staff Sgt. Joshua Wilson, Spc. Amanda (Minor) White, and Pfc. Devon Gregory of team 1, joined representatives of the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps and American Legion Post 71in providing full military honors for the veterans. The cremated remains of 10 South Carolina veterans were interred in Beaufort National Cemetery Dec. 13, 2013. The ceremony was the sixth in South Carolina since 2012 and the first at Beaufort National Cemetery.

The efforts made by the ISD and others that day ensured the veterans were not forgotten.

“It was amazing to see some many people come together for these Soldiers,” said Gregory.

“When they died no one was there to claim them as their family,” White said. “Most of the people who came out didn’t know the Soldiers, but they represented their families.”

The importance of closure is essential for many people. “When I first joined the Army there was an induction ceremony at which I raised my hand (and took the oath to defend and protect this country),” said Staff Sgt. Alexander Hernandez of team 3. “They (the deceased) are no longer here. This is our way of closing that chapter of their lives. That’s why it is so important for the family (for those with living family members) because it gives them closure.”

While these Soldiers of the ISD begin to pack up to return to their units on Fort Gordon, a few will remain behind to begin training the new teams coming in. “It’s like passing a torch,” said Gregory.

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