Honor Guard

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My brother, Stephen Phillips, was a decorated veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars He returned home, left the military, and then just like many other veterans faced the challenges of readjusting to the civilian world. Before enlisting he had worked for a few years as a crewmember on barges that ply the inland waterways of Louisiana carrying cargo to Shreveport-Bossier, one of the nation’s fastest growing inland ports. The work was dangerous, but he enjoyed the camaraderie of his fellow deckhands. He knew that in the busy port dock workers, crane operators, riggers, deckhands and longshoremen are at risk of serious injury, including back injury, neck injury, head injury, crushing injuries, crane accident injuries, forklift injuries among others. The use of heavy equipment such as deck cranes and mobile cranes to load and off-load cargo from barges and vessels posed a risk of injury when miscommunication occurred among the operators and the deck hands.

While Steven was deployed the marine towing industry has cut the size of crews on many vessels, increasing the risk of marine vessel injuries. Although Steven had returned relatively unscathed from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, his good fortune or some might say luck was not in evidence on a disastrous rainy night in September when he was helping with moving a large tows of barges through one of the narrow locks on the Red River south of Shreveport. These narrower locks required the unhooking and reconnecting of the barges. It appeared that a strong outdraft on one of the lock gate caused a barge to shift suddenly slamming into a gate. Steven had a fatal fall. A New Orleans maritime attorney has been retained by our family to determine whether this was just a tragic accident or whether it was caused through the fault of another.

In the meantime a funeral must be planned. Because of Steven’s outstanding military service, our family requested a military funeral with honors detail. Below is an outline of what one can expect at such a funeral. Although this is a sad time for us, we are all so proud of Steven and his service to our country.

Honor Guard

Funeral Honors:
•    Two person flag fold Taps
•    Flag passed to next of kin

Funeral Honors:
•    9-person honor guard detail
•    Pallbearers at place of interment
•    Six person flag fold
•    Firing Party
•    Taps
•    Flag passed to next of kin

Active Duty
Funeral Honors:
•    21 Person honor Guard detail
•    Everything listed above
On behalf of the President of the United States, the Department of the Air Force,and a grateful Nation we offer this flag for the faithful and dedicated service of you loved one.

Posted on: May 3, 2010