As the nation pauses to remember those who have died in service to America, a 2016 Westerville South High School graduate and Columbus, Ohio native is serving with the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard in Washington D.C.
Airman Brandon Mason, an aviation electronics technician, is responsible for laying fellow sailors to rest while demonstrating the utmost precision and professionalism.
“I get the chance to serve my country in a sort of unique way in that what I do is rewarding,” said Mason. “I see the effects of our actions right here. We may have four or five funerals that day, but that family only gets one. Everything counts.”
Established in 1931, the United States Navy Ceremonial Guard is the official Ceremonial Unit of the U.S. Navy and is based at Naval District Washington Anacostia Annex in Washington, D.C.
According to Navy officials, the Ceremonial Guard’s primary mission is to represent the Navy in Presidential, Joint Armed Forces, Navy and public ceremonies in the Nation’s Capital under the scrutiny of the highest-ranking officials of the United States and foreign nations, including royalty.
Sailors of the Ceremonial Guard are hand selected while they are attending boot camp at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois. Strict military order and discipline, combined with teamwork, allow the Ceremonial Guard to fulfill their responsibilities with pride and determination. They are experts in the art of close order drill, coordination, and timing.
The Ceremonial Guard is comprised of the drill team, color guard, casket bearers, and firing party.
Casket bearers carry the Navy’s past to their resting ground. Whether it is in Arlington National Cemetery, or another veteran’s cemetery.
The firing party renders the 21 Gun Salute, the signature honor of military funerals, during every Navy Funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.
“The Sailors here are true ambassadors of the U.S. Navy,” said Rear Admiral Charles Rock, Commandant, Naval District Washington. “They are part of a legacy that promote the mission, protect the standards, perfect the image and preserve the heritage. This elite team are “guardians of the colors,” displaying and escorting our nation flag with an impeccable exhibition of skill and determination.”
Mason is part of a legacy honoring service and sacrifice of men and women of the U.S. Navy. Being a part of the Ceremonial Guard is a distinct privilege each member will carry with them throughout their lifetime.
Serving in the Navy, Mason is learning about being a more responsible leader, sailor and person through handling numerous responsibilities.
“The Navy has changed my attitude, my demeanor, even my posture,” added Mason. “It’s all changed for the better. It’s a different lifestyle that really changes your perspective and gives you a new lease on life.”
Mason is the son of Jennifer Mason of Dublin, Ohio and Brian Mason of Westerville, Ohio.