Being incarcerated has not deterred the members of the VVGSQ from continuing to display a high-level of military decorum inside San Quentin State Prison.
The group’s Honor Guard embodies the sense of duty and patriotism learned in the military by performing the posting of the nation’s colors at various events throughout the institution.
The Honor Guard is comprised of self-trained members within the group. They can be seen preparing for events as they drill, march, and practice turns in formation. In addition, several of them men take part on a flag folding committee where they learn the proper way to fold and present the American flag for memorial services.
David Tarvin, the flag folding squad leader says of his participation, “I think it’s important for people to know that just because we’re in prison, we haven’t lost the qualities that inspired us to join the military in the first place. I still continue to look for ways to honorably represent our country.”
Last year, the Honor Guard performed at the Veterans Day roll call held inside the prison. The event opened with the posting of the U.S. and POW/MIA flag. Members of the San Quentin veterans’ community then proceeded to read off names of those killed in action during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
This year the Honor Guard will be presenting the colors during SQ baseball’s Opening Day, All-Star Game, and a GED/College/Vocational Graduation Ceremony held in the Garden Chapel. When asked what serving on the Honor Guard meant to their squad leader Craig Johnson, he replied, “It gives me a sense of patriotism and being of service…even after 34 years of incarceration.”
On May 27, the VVGSQ and the Honor Guard held a Memorial Day formation on San Quentin’s Field of Dreams at 1200 hours. The group and invited guests observed a moment of silence for fallen veterans. The guard marched the flags across the field and Larry Faison, VVGSQ member and trumpet player, marked the solemn occasion with the playing of Taps.
To learn more about the VVGSQ and the Honor Guard, go to our website at http://vvgsq.tripod.com.
If you are interested in having the VVGSQ Honor Guard perform at an event within the San Quentin community, please contact the VVGSQ Secretary by sending a request to the Education Department. Or, contact our Chief Sponsor, Lt. Rudy Luna, at San Quentin State Prison (415) 454-1460 ext. 5808.