ChalleNGe Academy color guard goes out with a bang

By Sgt. 1st Class James McGuire, state public affairs office

Graduating cadets from the Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy’s Color Guard Club conducted their last Reveille ceremony with a bang.

WCCA color guard
Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy Color Guard Club member and WCCA Cadet Brendan Diede fires the ceremonial cannon at Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center during a flag raising ceremony, Sept. 6, 2018. The event was the last before graduation for the class 37 color guard, and the first time for them to utilize the cannon. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jimmy McGuire)

Since reinstating Reveille and Retreat ceremonies at Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center a few months ago, the cadets have taken on the honor of raising and lowering the flag each day.

The traditional military ceremonies are used to show respect to the flag and to the music that initiates the events. Reveille signifies the start of the duty day and is initiated with a bugle call followed by the playing of “To the Colors.”

Retreat signifies the end of the duty day and is a signal to pay respects. It is initiated with the playing of “Retreat” followed by the national anthem.

David Husted, who retired from the Wyoming Army National Guard earlier this year, is the Information Technology Specialist at WCCA. He has also taken the reins as the Color Guard Club coordinator, and is very proud of the cadets who have stepped up to fulfill the flag ceremony duties. He wanted their last ceremony before graduation to be memorable.

“I went to the camp staff and asked if we could use the cannon for Reveille,” Husted said. “’Sure,’ was the reply.”

With a little extra training on the morning of Sept. 6, Brendan Diede, from Aladdin, Wyoming, was selected to pull the lanyard on the ceremonial cannon, stationed at the flag pole in front of the Training Center Command headquarters. At the same time, his fellow color guard members raised the flag at 7 a.m. The last time the cannon was fired was May 2016, when Col. Richard Knowlton, the camp’s former commander, retired.

The WCCA cadets not involved in the ceremony stood in formation along with staff and members of the 84th Civil Support Team who were conducting training at the camp that week.

“They’re doing what soldiers do and they take it very seriously,” Husted said of the club’s performance. “They did a phenomenal job.”

Husted said the club will continue to fire the cannon at the last ceremony before graduation, now that the precedent has been established. The next graduating class, Class 38, will have the opportunity to start clubs following their week-long home pass, which is between week 12 and 13 of the 5 1/2 month residential phase of the program.

WCCA Deputy Director David Salazar said, “Mr. Husted has taken the best of the best and has been doing colors and Retreat for a couple of months. This culminating event really instills a lot of pride and respect for the cadets.”

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