Combining the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion honor guards works well in Marshalltown, Iowa.
In 2010 and prior years, both the VFW and American Legion organizations had honor guards in Marshalltown. Due to declining numbers in both, the two groups merged into a Combined VFW/American Legion Honor Guard in 2011. Membership of the VFW and/or American Legion is never mentioned; as honor guard members we do not care which organizations our members belong to. The volunteer spirit of the honor guard is exceptionally high. Members have pride and ownership in the Combined Honor Guard.
American Legion members from several surrounding communities have joined our honor guard. The Marshalltown Combined VFW/American Legion Honor Guard was certified by the Department of Defense in 2015.
Last year we did 101 honors, and at times two funerals at the same time with up to three funerals in one day using rifles from both the VFW and American Legion with 22 of our 28 members participating.
The Combined Honor Guard participates in community ceremonies on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, along with local and state fair parades. We visit the Iowa Veterans Home residence and participate in there spring carnival handing out prizes to the veterans. We are in the process of doing bingo once a month for the IVH veterans.
Our honor guard has received substantial financial, written and moral support from organizations and individuals in Marshalltown and surrounding communities. This support has allowed us to purchase a new 14-passenger bus in 2017 and new uniform jackets.
We will continue to honor those who have served our country.
Robert E. Miller
Commander, Marshalltown Combined VFW/American Legion Honor Guard