Ceremony Guidelines

  • Proper Dress for Search and Rescue Personnel
  • Salutes
  • Duties
  • Memorial Service
  • Burial

Proper Dress for Search and Rescue Personnel

How an organization and its members choose to dress at special functions sends a powerful message.

The Honor Guard requests you dress to the highest level of formality possible when attending an MRA or SAR memorial or funeral service in order to show the proper respect.

Most MRA teams do not have a “dress” uniform to show respect at a special occasion. These are general recommendations to help MRA members choose how to dress for special occasions and funerals.

Here are the recommended options;

  1. The Honor Guard invites you to use this “Class “A” Uniform” for MRA events if you do not have a Class A uniform for your team.

    A class A uniform is to impress and honor and be respectful. It is not a field uniform, so things like unshined footwear, any extra patches, worn out BDUs or blousing, short sleeves, plastic name plates and worn out belts are not appropriate. Likewise too many accessories are not appropriate. Simple and dignified. Team insignias are subdued, while MRA identification is more prominent. This uniform is similar to the Honor Guard uniform to provide consistency, yet distinct enough the honor guard uniform to give them each their own identity.

    1. Black Beret. May add MRA round pin or MRA axe pin or team pin;
    2. Long Sleeve Slate Grey Flying Cross (Item 46w6691) or Long Sleeve charcoal grey Dickies shirt. Team badge or axe pin or nothing on left breast (no patches on front of a dress uniform). Glossy silver name plate over right pocket. 2¾” MRA patches on both shoulders, with Team patch OK below MRA on left shoulder, or Team patches with smaller MRA patch on both.
    3. Black uniform clip on tie. Silver tie bar or team pin or MRA pin as tie tack. Some may prefer Black turtleneck/dicky
    4. Black belt w/black or silver buckle. Black tactical belt OK but must be new, not rough looking/worn out.
    5. Black straight leg uniform or dress trousers. Black BDUs that are new and pressed are OK, but NOT bloused.
    6. Well shined black shoes or boots. Black socks.
    7. For cold weather: Black gloves and black parka or black uniform jacket
  2. The MRA Kilt is quite appropriate to wear, with the shirt and accessories above, with a black kilt belt and silver buckle, grey fur or black leather sporran, and grey or white socks with black flashes and black shoes. Or wear your clan’s tartan.
  3. Your Team’s “class A” or best uniform with the MRA patch or logo displayed. In some cases it may be quite enough simply to wear your team’s parka or jacket with the MRA patch on it and dark pants. Some teams sew black or orange arm bands with their’s or the MRA patch on it and black tape over the patch, or just a black band over their shirt patch.
  4. Your Team’s Flight Suit can gain a “class A” type appearance for special occasions that may easily look classier than a field uniform, if that is all your team otherwise has;
    1. Black MRA Beret with Silver MRA Ice Ax Pin. If not, a nice looking team ball cap, while not really right, will allow a salute at a funeral, etc.
    2. Team flight suit, pressed; leather name patch, single MRA patch on right breast or pocket, (or your team’s uniform protocol).
    3. Funeral: Black arm band or black tape on MRA patch
    4. White turtleneck, dickie or ascot for dark flight suits; Black turtleneck, dickie or ascot for light flight suits.
    5. Black,high polished boots.
    6. Team Jacket, or Leather jacket with leather name patch left breast, or Black nylon or nomex flight jacket with MRA patch on right breast.
  5. Your sheriff’s office or authorizing agency Class A uniform may be appropriate, with MRA round pin or ice axe pin on the right breast, left breast, or pocket, or where your agency policy specifies. While this is appropriate for certain law enforcement, fire-EMS, or military funerals, but does not really identify the MRA presence or pay MRA respects.
  6. A dark suit and tie with large MRA pocket name badge. This is appropriate for certain occasions or funerals where an agency- or MRA uniform is not appropriate. Place the black band or black tape over the pocket badge for a funeral. A black military surplus overcoat is the right choice for outerwear. A black mourning band for the upper sleeve with MRA patch and black cloth/tape through it.
  7. The MRA polo and denim shirts, if in good repair and color, are very casual, but will work in a pinch, with clean, pressed BDUs or trousers.
  8. Proper “cover” (hat) for a dress event such as funeral, memorial, or graduation is usually NOT considered a ball cap, but many times it is the only cover a team has.


  1. If you choose to salute, do so properly. The accepted manner is in standard US and Canadian military fashion, including never showing the palm of the hand.
  2. “Snap” salute is done to the colors and on all other occasions unless otherwise specified. It is sharp and relatively quick.
  3. “Slow” or reverent salute is usually 3 seconds up & 3 seconds down, usually to the remains.
  4. Saluting
    1. MRA members in a uniform with cover (hat) may salute the colors when called to.
    2. Members in uniform without cover shall not salute the national flag(s) but shall cover the heart with right hand to the colors, national anthem, and the national pledge of allegiance.
    3. Members in uniform without cover may salute the remains or for other specified reverential salutes to the fallen.

The MRA President or representative and Team President and/or Field Commander will specify the duties.

For a line of duty death or retiree service, the Honor Guard event commander will brief you on protocols for presenting flags, certificates, etc.

Memorial Service

MRA Honor Guard – Sample Memorial Service
In Honor and in Memory of ________
Form: 4-2-05

Items are moved to the service if there will be no burial.

One day Advance
Site visits, practice. Coordinate with local people and other Honor Guards.
Dinner xxxx hours at location.

Boots, Helmet, Shirt, Rope and memory table
Silent guard posting
Day of Service

Breakfast xxxx hours at location.

All Honor Guard members arrive at church, scout, practice. Find changing room. Connect with locals and clergy. Assess front of room for colors and pre-place stands. Reserve pew near back or front. Pre-place the items to give to the family. Fit guest Honor Guard members into uniforms. Remind all Honor Guard and guest Honor Guard of the private gathering after the ceremony.

Raise outdoor flag

xxxx hours: Lone piper outside may play quietly.

Receive hearse with usual protocols.

xxxx hours: Helicopter Fly Over. Honor Guards all outside, form corridor for family and civilians to enter. All other uniformed personnel fill in the corridor behind the Honor Guards.

xxxx hours: Clergy “Please stand for the posting of the colors by the Mountain Rescue Association Honor Guard.

Escort Family to seats.

Honor Guard marches in, center aisle, lead by band playing (piping and drumming, Green Hills of Tyrol, Scotland the Brave, etc.)

Ice Axe bearers: ____. MRA Flag: ____. two local unit members: ____. State Flag: ____. US Flag: ____.

Honor Guard posts colors. Honor Guard is seated (drum cadence).

Memorial service begins.

Last item before service ends: Clergy: “Please stand for the Honor Guard presentation”.

Commander introduces the Hx of the flags, axes, etc.

As speaker goes forward, the Honor Guard, on commands quietly files front – axes, face audience, Parade rest.

Close friend, etc. recited the following:

This is an adaptation of what we call

“The Rescuer’s Prayer”

When I am called to duty, God, wherever people fall,
give me strength to save a life, whatever be the call.
Help me embrace a little child before it is too late,
or save an older person from the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert, and hear the weakest shout,
and quickly and effectively bring my neighbor out.
I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me,
to bring my every neighbor back to their family.
And if according to your will, I have to lose my life,
please bless with your protecting hand,
my children and my wife.
(Alt: And when it happens on same day – my earthly life does end, please bless with your protecting hand, my family and my friends)

Clergy: “Please remain standing for the retiring of the Colors and the end of the service.
Honor Guard: Retire Colors, about face, forward march, Honor Guard halt.
Pipe Band files in front of Honor Guard and leads them out to band (Scotland the Brave, etc.).
Honor Guard exits, forms a corridor outside center exit.

Other uniformed personnel help form the protective corridor. Flags discreetly put out of sight.
As family and remains approach: Honor Guard and Uniformed personnel, “Present Arms”
After passes, Order Arms. Load casket feet first.

Pipe Band and Honor Guards shuttle together to burial site.


Honor Guard or Past President or Speaker addresses the family;
_____ retrieves MRA Certificates, Pins, cards, teddy bears for family. All MRA past presidents, plus local unit President and/or field director join to approach and help present Certificate, card and pin to each. “From a grateful community and country”.
Past Presidents retire to seats. Past Presidents who are Honor Guard (Tim, Dave) return to front to attention.

Honor Salute: directed toward remains or memorial table
“Honor Guard, About Face, Present Arms (slow salute)
“Operations Chief-Paramedic John Jones;
Your earthly tasks are now complete, your duties you’ve well done;
The final pipes now toll for you, you are going home.

And/or Final Radio or voice pager call.
“Honor Guard, Order Arms.

Flag Folding, if desired.
Pipers: Amazing Grace. 2-3 verses.

End of service
Honor Guard final pass by

Honor Guards & Pipe Band & local unit group photo, as appropriate