553rd CSSB Displays a Special Kind of Teamwork

Article by: Pvt. Amy M. Lane
Public Affairs Specialist

FORT HOOD, Texas — Funeral detail teams from the 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade gathered at the Abrams gym Dec. 18 to show off their skills and compete for the right to be known as the best team in the unit.

"The teams kept bragging about who was better so we decided to set up a competition to see which team is the best of the best," said Master Sgt. Tim L. Oney, who organized the contest and acted as one of the three judges.

Ten teams demonstrated their skills and competed for first, second and third place trophies.

Spc. Christopher L. Reinhardt, a mechanic with the 263rd Maintenance Company, was a member of one of the competing teams. He has been doing the funeral detail for about six months, and said it's all about practice and teamwork.

"Every time we go out for a funeral, we go out with the same eight-man team," said Reinhardt. The teams are on a rotation so each group takes a turn when calls come in for funerals.

Reinhardt said the skills are not hard to learn but it does take a lot of time and practice. "Between funerals we do rifle drills, and practice folding the flag and carrying the casket. We work on it every single day. Getting our timing right is really the biggest hurdle."

The competition was a chance to show off their skills and display the teamwork involved.

"I think we did a really good job today. It was a learning experience for me and everyone on the team," said Reinhardt. "It takes a lot of discipline to get this right."

The 553rd CSSB provides military funerals for eligible veterans in 17 Texas counties. They have done over 300 funerals in the last six months, Oney said. "We provide 9 different types of funerals, from graveside to full honors. Whatever the family asks for, that's what they will get."

Reinhardt volunteered for the funeral detail this time, after previously being assigned to it.

"It means a lot to me to be able to do this. It's an honor to serve my country and an opportunity to pay my respect to the fallen veterans and their families," said Reinhardt. "It's a chance to honor those who have gone before me."

news photo
Fort Hood, Texas - Spc. Willie R. Anderson salutes as part of a funeral ceremony at the 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion's funeral detail competition Dec. 18 at the Abrams gym.
(U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Sean E. Mcguire)

 

news photo
Fort Hood, Texas - Spc. Christopher L. Reinhardt ensures the flag is folded perfectly during the 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion's funeral detail competition at the Abrams gym Dec. 18.
(U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Sean E. Mcguire)

news photo
Fort Hood, Texas - Sgt. Steve Pagan and Spc. Dale Olea solemnly fold the flag over the coffin at the 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion's funeral detail competition Dec. 18. Ten funeral detail teams competed for trophies awarded to the best 3 teams.
(U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Sean E. Mcguire)