Guard of honour
A guard of honour (en-GB), guard of honor (en-US), also honour guard (en-GB), honor guard (en-US), also ceremonial guard, is a guard, usually military in nature, appointed to receive or guard a head of state or other dignitary, the fallen in war, or to attend at state ceremonials, especially funerals. In military weddings, especially those of commissioned officers, a guard, composed usually of service members of the same branch, form the Saber arch. In principle any military unit could act as a guard of honour. However, in some countries certain units are specially designated for guard of honour duty.
Guards of Honour also serve in the civilian world for fallen police officers and other civil servants. Certain religious bodies, especially Churches of the Anglican Communion and the Methodist movement, have the tradition of an Honour Guard at the funeral of an ordained elder, in which all other ordained elders present "guard the line" between the door of the church and the grave, or hearse if the deceased is to be buried elsewhere or cremated. The practice of providing a guard of honour as a mark of respect also occurs in sports, especially throughout the Commonwealth of Nations.
The Algerian Republican Guard (Arabic: الحرس الجمهوري الجزائري, French: Garde républicaine algérienne), is a mainly ceremonial military corps of the Algerian Army which is composed of 6,000 troops. It is very similar to the French Army in its formation style. The Republican Guard includes a horse mounted cavalry unit and a musicak fanfare military band, with the cavalry detachment basing its uniform and traditions in the roots of the military traditions of the famous Berber cavalry, the Numidian cavalry, the French cavalry, and the Arab cavalry.
The Egyptian Republican Guard is a division level unit in the Egyptian Army which is the seniormost unit in the Egyptian Armed Forces that has the responsibility of defending the President of Egypt, as well as major presidential and national institutions. It is a type of guard regiment that is composed of dozens upon dozens of armored brigades, mechanized brigades and divisional artillery, Being the seniormost unit in the armed forces, the Republican Guard Division is the only major military unit allowed in central Cairo besides the troops of intelligence services and Central Security Forces.
The members of the Nigerian Presidential Guard Brigade are elite Nigerian soldiers who guard the residence of the President of the Federal Republic and his/he guests as well as perform ceremonial duties. It is similar to the United States Secret Service in that its members provide security for the head of state of foreign visits. The brigade performs a weekly changing of the guard ceremony outside Aso Villa and stands guard at the Presidential Villa. Aside from that, the guards brigade also mounts the guard of honour for state visits, as well as the Independence Day Military Parade in Abuja. The brigade is the seniormost unit in the Nigerian Army's order of battle.
The Red Guard of Senegal is a Senegalese Gendarmerie unit that is responsible for maintaining the security of the President of Senegal. It is similar to the ceremonial elements in the French Republican Guard. The unit's uniform is derived from the French colonial Spahi. The Red Guard is under the direct command of the Security Legion of the Senegalese Mobile Gendarmerie. It is composed of many units that serve ceremonial duties, with the most notable being the honour guard battalion and the mounted squadron.
The guard of honour unit in South Africa was the State Presidents Guard (Staatspresidentseenheid) until 1990. The unit has since been replaced by the National Ceremonial Guard in the South African National Defence Force. Permanent honour guards in the country had not existed prior to the Staatspresidentseenheid's founding in 1967. Following the abolition of apartheid in South Africa, the guard was disestablished, leaving the defense forces without an official guard of honour until 1995, when the NCG was founded.
The Presidential Guard is an elite combat unit of the Zimbabwe National Army, serving as a Household Division-like service for the President of Zimbabwe. The unit, in their green service uniform and yellow berets, mount the guard of honour on behalf of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. Recent guard of honour events provided by the presidential guard include the following:
The flag of the Presidential Guard of Zimbabwe consists of a beige background, with three equal horizontal stripes of red, green and red, and the centre having a shield which contains a white wreath beneath a bird, over which are two brown rifles in saltire. The brigade is based currently at Dzivarasekwa Barracks in Harare and is led by Brigadier Anselem Sanyatwe.
The Regiment of Mounted Grenadiers serves as a part of the Argentine Army, serving as the presidential guard and ceremonial companions. Two unmounted grenadiers are stationed in front of the Pink House as a symbol of the ceremonial and honour guard.
The Brazilian armed forces and police have several troops for ceremonial usages. The most important of them is the Brazilian president's honour guard. It is composed of the 1st Guards Cavalry Regiment (1o Regimento de Cavalaria de Guardas – RCG, in Portuguese) – "Independence Dragoons", the Presidential Guard Battalion (Batalhão da Guarda Presidencial – BGP, in Portuguese) and the Cayenne Battery.
The Canadian guard of honour is formed from members of the company-sized Ceremonial Guard, an ad hoc unit drawn from all branches of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Although the unit's members are derived from a variety of military units, the Ceremonial Guard uses similar uniforms to Canada's two Foot Guards regiments as a reflection of their traditional connection with those regiments. The unit comprises 400 people, including a Foot Guard company and the Band of the Ceremonial Guard.
The Ceremonial Guard typically executes public duties in Ottawa from June to August. During these months, the Ceremonial Guard serves as the guard of honour for ceremonies including such as guard mounting, Trooping the Colour, and Canada Day festivities. They may also be formed for repatriation ceremonies for fallen soldiers returning from combat. Public duties in Ottawa were also performed by the Canadian Guards, before the unit's disbandment in 1970. Prior to 2007, membership with the Ceremonial Guard was restricted to the Foot Guards of the Canadian Army.
The two regiment of Foot Guards, the Canadian Grenadier Guards and the Governor General's Foot Guards, perform ceremonial duties, including mounting the guard for royal or state visits, national and provincial celebrations, and military-related ceremonies. The two regiment of Foot Guards, along with the Governor General's Horse Guards, form Canada's Household Division.
In addition to the Ceremonial Guard, and the Foot Guards, several other Canadian Army regiments have also mounted the guard in Ottawa, on the authority of the Chief of Defence Staff. Public duties at the Citadelle of Quebec, including guard mountings are performed by the Royal 22nd Regiment from June to September. Located in Quebec City, the citadel is an active military installation, as well as an official residence for the Monarch, and the Governor General of Canada.
The 37th Infantry Presidential Guard Battalion, composed of five companies, a historical company and one artillery battery plus a military band, a fanfare trumpet section and Corps of Drums, is the President of Colombia's honour guard service regiment under the National Army of Colombia. It is stationed at the Casa de Nariño in Bogota where the changing of the guard ceremony takes place three days per week and carries the traditions of Simon Bolivar's infantry guards company raised in the midst of the Spanish American wars of independence in 1815.
The Ceremonial Unit of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces provided honours for the Communist Party of Cuba, the Government of Cuba, and the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces. It is a sort of mix between Russian and German ceremonial formations, with the unit notably adopting the German-born goosestep. Its ceremonial duties are usually performed at government buildings and notable areas in Havana, with the Plaza de la Revolución (the main square in the capital) and the Palace of the Revolution (the workplace of the President of Cuba). The main purpose of the military unit is the performance of the changing of the guard every half an hour at the José Marti Mausoleum in Santiago de Cuba. Prior to Fidel Castro's 1959 Cuban Revolution, honour guards were performed by units that resembled honour guard units in the United States, such as The Old Guard.
Haitian honour guard duties are performed by the General Security Unit of the National Palace of the Haitian National Police (L'Unité de Sécurité Générale du Palais National, USGPN) which is a major specialized unit of the PNH. It has, since 1997, mainly ensured security at the Palais National and the security of the President of Haiti. The USGPN works with the Presidential Security Unit (Unité de sécurité présidentielle, USP) to protect the president, as well as intervene when a crime takes place and or assist police officers in their duties, outside of the USGPN's ceremonial ones. Funeral honours, state visits, and military parades are some of the many ceremonies that the USGPN takes in.
The Honour Guard in Mexico consists of members selected from the Mexican Navy, Mexican Army and/or Air Force, and report to the Secretariats of National Defense and the Navy, while these two secretariats maintain currently (since the 2018 disbandment of the Estado Mayor Presidencial), through the Army Presidential Guards Corps, a dedicated joint service guards corps with a division of presidential guards and selected other formations from both secretariats. Some of their duties include protection of the Mexican flag in Zocalo, and the raising and lowering of it, as well as providing ceremonial guards at National Palace or Campo Marte during state visits to Mexico.
There are also those selected from other organizations, such as historic societies, schools, sports centers, celebrities, etc., but these are for national holiday events within the country. Escolta de la bandera or Escolta de guerra or Escolta de honores or simply La escolta is the term in Spanish for colour guards and flag parties.
Each uniformed service branch in the U.S. Armed Forces has its own official honour guard: the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Most state national guard units have a ceremonial guard unit as well, as well as in state defense forces.
The official honour guard of every branch is located in the National Capital Region, though nearly every military installation will have its own honour guard for local ceremonies and events. The honour guard units in National Capital Region, formed into the Joint Service Honor Guard of the National Capital Region and the Department of Defense, an ad-hoc unit of battalion size, represent the military as a whole and the United States as a nation, and perform numerous ceremonies on behalf of the President of the United States, the commander-in-chief of the federal Armed Forces, with musical accompaniment by each of the central bands of the Armed Forces based in the capital.
Since World War II, The Old Guard has served as the official Army honour guard and escort to the President, and it also provides security for Washington, D.C., in time of national emergency or civil disturbance. Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns is guarded by members of the U.S. 3rd Infantry Regiment.
Many local, state/provincial, national and federal public safety agencies maintain Honour Guards, Pipes & Drums and Buglers, including fire departments, law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services, and search and rescue, who typically use adaptations of military honour guards, and honour those who die in the line of duty (LODD-Line of Duty Death), off-duty but still on the job, and retirees, as well as participating in support of other agencies, and parades. Some Law Enforcement agencies are able to maintain a Rifle Team for 'three volley' salutes. Most, even those within major career paid agencies, are not paid for performing and preparing for the honour guard duty.
The Presidential Honour Guard Brigade is the joint service military unit mandated to ensure the immediate security of the President of Venezuela and his First Family and for the performance of public duties in the most important places in the country. The most distant antecedents of the Presidential Honour Guard go back to the Hussars Troop of Simon Bolivar, of the Venezuelan War of Independence and of the larger Spanish American wars of independence, raised in June 1815 and part of a more bigger guards brigade targeted for the immediate security of the Liberator, and the early 20th century 1st Cavalry Regiment "Ambrosio Plaza" that until the 1950s, albelt reduced to squadron size, provided the ceremonial security of the President and was modeled on the Prussian horse guards units of the late 19th century. The modern brigade serves as a ceremonial escort to the President of Venezuela at Miraflores Palace and attends all state arrival ceremonies conducted there, as well as providing security for the palace complex. The brigade also provides honour guards (i) at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Carabobo Field, Carabobo commemorating the memory of national heroes and the fallen of the Battle of Carabobo of 1821, (ii) at the Montana Barracks in Caracas in memory of the late Hugo Chávez; and (iii) at the National Pantheon in Caracas in memory of Bolívar and other national heroes buried there. The brigade also performs public duties functions as required. Brigade personnel come from all branches of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela (NBAF) and public security services. The brigade is commanded by a general or flag officer and includes a Presidential mounted escort of platoon or troop size.
Aside from the PHGB, there are two other foot guards battalions in the NBAF, the Caracas Foot Guards Battalion of the Ministry of Defense, and the Brigadier Daniel Florence O'Leary Headquarters and HQ Services Foot Guards Battalion of the Venezuelan Army Headquarters. Both foot guard battalions are also tasked with forming guards of honour and public duties:
Honour guards from the Armed Forces of Armenia are provided by the Honour Guard Battalion of the Ministry of Defense of Armenia (Հայաստանի Պաշտպանության նախարարության Պատվո պահքի գումարտակը, Hayastani Pashtpanut’yan nakhararut’yan Patvo pahk’i gumartakyl), which is stationed at the defense ministry's headquarters in Yerevan. The battalion was founded on the basis of the Honour Guard Unit of the 7th Guards Army of the Red Army. The Armenian Police also have their own Honour Guard Battalion, which serves under the auspices of the Yerevan police headquarters.
In Azerbaijan, military honour guards during state visits are provided by the Azerbaijani National Guard of the Special State Protection Service of Azerbaijan. It is subordinate to the President of Azerbaijan, and has responsibilities that range from protecting government officials to mounting the guard of honour for state visits and military parades. A joint-service honour guard subordinate to the Ministry of Defense is also available and is usually mounted for military officials.
Honour guards, as known as Combined Honour Guard of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), are provided by the Beijing Capital Garrison Command in Beijing, under the Central Theater Command and reporting directly to the General Staff. They marched as the first battalion in the military parade of the 35th, 50th, and 60th anniversaries of the People's Republic of China. They are often on parades led by a colour guard detail carrying the PLA flag. Other than the Beijing Battalion, honour guards are mounted by the following units in the following regions:
During the reign of the Ming Dynasty, that role was taken up by the Jǐnyīwèi (錦衣衛) or the Embroidered Uniform Guard.
In India, the Tri-Services Guard of Honour is made up of men or women drawn from three services of the Indian military: the Indian Army, Indian Air Force, and Indian Navy. It is based at New Delhi and is of company size, present only during state visits. In January 2015, during Barack Obama's state visit to India, Wing Commander Pooja Thakur became the first female officer to lead the guard of honour for a foreign leader. The President's Bodyguard is the seniormost household cavalry unit in the Indian Army, serving as a guard of honour for the President of India.
In Indonesia, the unit institutionally intended to act as an honour guard for the President of Indonesia and towards foreign state leaders or officials visiting Indonesia is the Paspampres which is conducted at the national palaces of Indonesia (Merdeka Palace or Bogor Palace). The Paspampres forms as a special branch of the Indonesian National Armed Forces tasked for protective security duties towards the VVIP.
This special joint service command, other than being responsible for security of the President and Vice President of Indonesia also conducts Public duties, Quarter guard, Ceremonial, and Escort tasks for the national official residences. Public duties for the Merdeka Palace during state visits and holidays are tasked to the personnel of the "State Protocol Escort Battalion" (Batalyon Pengawalan Protokol Negara abbreviated "Yonwalprotneg"), a unit from each of the groups of the Paspampres consisting of chosen Military policemen.
During the national ceremony commemorating the independence day of Indonesia in the Merdeka Palace at every 17 August, honour guards which line-up at the palace yard during the ceremony are part of the combined-forces honour guard which includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Police force. During this occasion, the Paspampres "A" Group acts as the honour guard for the national flag where they join marching with the Paskibraka.
The same format is seen in other parts of the country during the ceremony for commemorating the independence day of Indonesia with the honour guards tasked from local territorial Military or Police units in Provincial, city or regency level.
The Central Provost of Islamic Republic of Iran Army maintains a guard of honour unit called the "Presidential Ceremony Guard" (Persian: گارد تشریفات ریاست جمهوری). It provides honour guards for the Iranian President and during events of state such as arrival ceremonies for foreign leaders and national holidays. Also known as DEJAJA, the unit is composed of infantryman, sailors, and airman, all of which serve under the command of the army provost. Aside from public duties, the provost also serves as a military police unit for the capital of Tehran.
Prior to 1979, the Imperial Immortal Guard provided honour guards for official events of state.
The 302nd JGSDF Security Company (Japanese: 第302保安警務中隊) is a police force unit under the direct control of the Eastern Army located in the Ichigaya garrison. When foreign leaders make state visit to Tokyo, The Special Ceremonial Detachment from the company is assembled outside the Chōwaden Reception Hall at the Tokyo Imperial Palace or the Prime Minister's Official Residence to take part in the welcoming ceremony. The 115-strong personnel company is organized into three platoons, with each consisting of three honour guard squads. In wartime situations, the company serves as a military police unit.
The Imperial Guard of Japan (近衛師団) performs regular public duties at the Tokyo Imperial Palace by performing sentry duty at the gates outside of the palace, which is the seniormost residence of the Emperor of Japan. The Imperial Guard also maintains a platoon sized mounted police unit for use at state ceremonies.
The Aibyn Presidential Regiment serves as the Premier ceremonial unit of the President of Kazakhstan. It is under the direct command of the State Security Service of Kazakhstan and plays a direct role in maintaining state protocol. They have taken part in the changing of the guard ceremony in the Ak Orda Presidential Palace since 2001. On the other hand, the Honour Guard Company of the Ministry of Defense of Kazakhstan serves high-ranking members of the Ministry of Defence. It is composed of soldiers from the Kazakh Ground Forces, the Kazakh Navy and the Kazakh Air Force, being truly representative of the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan. Like its name implies, it is subordinate to the country's defence ministry and is a reporting unit of the 36th Air Assault Brigade of the Kazakh Airmobile Forces. Both units take part in all essential national events and ceremonies, with a notable appearance being, among other thing, the Inauguration of the President of Kazakhstan.
The National Guard of Kyrgyzstan carries out official representative functions on behalf of the Armed Forces of the Kyrgyz Republic. The guard of honour is formed from the 701st Military Unit of the National Guard. The National Guard stands at attention at the National Flagpole on Ala-Too Square in Bishkek, and has been performing the changing of the guard ceremony every hour since 16 August 1998.
The guard of honour in Malaysia usually consists of the 1st Battalion, Royal Malay Regiment, which performs most ceremonial duties in Malaysia, such as Heroes' Day, visitation of diplomats and state leaders, National Day, guard duties at the Royal Palace of Malaysia, and many more, in the national level. The RMR also mounts the guard during state visits to the Ministry of Defense.
- Royal Ranger Regiment - Perlis
- Royal Armoured Corps - Terengganu
- Royal Johor Military Force - Johor (the only state level defense formation and one of Malaysia's oldest military units)
- Royal Artillery Regiment - Kelantan
- Royal Regiment of Engineers - Perak
- Royal Signals Regiment - Negeri Sembilan
Units of the Royal Malaysia Police in Melaka, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak, as well as the Royal Malay Regiment and the Royal Rangers, mount guards of honour of the governors of these states. Guard of honour units are also found in the Royal Malaysia Police, The People's Volunteer Corps, the Fire and Rescue Department, and the Malaysia Civil Defence Force.
Honour guards units of the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN Honour Guard Battalion, Lumut) and the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF Honour Guard Battalion or the RMAF College) are mounted in the presence of the Sultan of Selangor and the Sultan of Pahang, respectively, in events where each of the two service branches are involved. Visits to the MoD building by naval and air general and flag officers are also accompanied by the guard of honour units of these services.
In Nepal, the Guard of honour is formed from special troops from Nepalese Army. It is mainly given to the President of Nepal and the Prime Minister of Nepal. Foreign Heads of State also receives the Guard of Honour. Formerly, Guard of honour were given in Tribhuwan International Airport premises but since 2018, Government of Nepal changed the venue to Tundikhel. The first foreign state head to receive the Guard of honour at Tundikhel was Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi during his visits to Nepal in March 2018.
In Pakistan, the guard of honour is provided by men drawn from three services of the Pakistan Armed Forces: The Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force, and the Pakistan Navy. A tri-service guard of honour company is stationed in Islamabad, the national capital, for services in state visits and important national holidays.
The Presidential Security Group provide honour guard services to the President of the Philippines in Malacañang Palace, especially during state visits to the country. The PSG is the only presidential guard service in Asia that is composed of men and women from the various uniformed organizations of the Philippines: the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Philippine Coast Guard.
The AFP has five designated honour guard battalions mandated for public duties for events concerning the Armed Forces. They are:
- General Headquarters Security & Escort Battalion, AFP General Headquarters and Headquarters Service Command
- Security and Escort Battalion, Philippine Army
- Headquarters Philippine Navy & Headquarters Support Group, Philippine Navy
- Marine Security and Escort Group, Philippine Marine Corps
- Air Force Special Security Group, Philippine Air Force
Honour Guard units are also present in the PNP and the PCG, and are mounted on important occasions of these two services.
The Guards-of-Honour (GOH) of Singapore are specially formed from all three services of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), namely, the Singapore Army, the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), together with the Singapore Police Force (SPF), which are positioned at the forefront of major parades and significant state events, such as the country's National Day on 9 August. They are dressed in ceremonial attire (known as the No. 1 uniform), which, based on the unit's origin (the sole exception being the Navy), have various colours imbued on a thin strip running down the outer-sides of the pants (red for the Army, light-blue for the Air Force and black for the Police) and different and unique badges, medals, awards and buttons, and will be equipped with SAR-21 assault rifles which have bayonets attached to them. These GOH units will typically be contrasted by at least one or more contingents of their fellow troops and men in their regular uniform (the No. 4 uniform for the SAF units and the No. 3 uniform for the SPF unit).
For state-visits and other important ceremonial duties within the Istana compounds, the guard-of-honour group that is formed and mounted is provided by personnel from the Singapore Armed Forces Military Police Command.
During the Joseon Dynasty, the role of guards of honour taken up by the Sumunjang, who reported directly to the Emperor and the Imperial Family with administrative responsibility to the Minister of Defense as part of the armed forces of the state.
South Korea today operates several guards of honour companies under the Republic of Korea Armed Forces - one each from the Republic of Korea Army, Republic of Korea Navy, Republic of Korea Air Force and Republic of Korea Marine Corps, along with a traditional honour guard unit that is made up of soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division. The traditional guard in particular was founded in 1991 after president Roh Tae-woo reviewed the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps and the Commander-in-Chief's Guard of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment of the United States. Since then the traditional honour guards have taken the role of officially welcoming heads of state and other dignitaries. Roles of the honour guards as a whole include funeral honours for the fallen, ensuring the security of various military headquarters, and acting as ceremonial guards to Gyeongbok Palace and during state visits to the Blue House.
For ceremonial purposes the guards carry various rifles - the Army, Navy and Air Force carry the M16 rifle; the Marine Corps carry M1 Garands and the traditional guards carry ceremonial swords, arrows, spears and lances, keeping with the traditions of the Korean military and as a tribute to the guards units of the Imperial era. Their colour guards also reflect these influences as well. While the service guards units maintain their respective military bands based on the US and UK practices, the traditional guard unit also contains a Daechwita, a form of military band playing Korean traditional music for military ceremonies and events, and as such wears uniforms used by similar ensembles in the 19th century.
In Sri Lanka, the guard of honour is provided by men drawn from three services of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces (The Sri Lanka Army, the Sri Lanka Navy, and the Sri Lanka Air Force). A guard of honour known as the President’s Ceremonial Guard Company is also drawn from the Sri Lanka Corps of Military Police. The Sri Lanka Police Mounted Division serves as a mounted guard of honour for the Sri Lanka Police, regularly performing public duties in providing mounted ceremonial escorts for Heads of state and VIPs, as well as provide guard of honour for the Opening of Parliament and the national day celebrations. During the colonial era, the Lascarins provided the local guards of honour, apart from British Army, British Indian Army, or Ceylon Defence Force personnel. The predecessor to the mounted police division is the Governor's Bodyguard, which served as the household cavalry unit of the Governor of British Ceylon. The Ceylon Mounted Rifles also serves in a mounted guard of honour role.
- Honour Guard of the Republic of China Army
- Honour Guard of the Republic of China Marine Corps
- Honour Guard of the Republic of China Navy
- Honour Guard of the Republic of China Air Force
These units combined representative the ROC Armed Forces in ceremonial settings. Guardsmen employ a M1 Garand Rifle during ceremonial activities. The units also perform guard duties and are usually present at these buildings:
- The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei
- The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei
- The National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine in Taipei
- The Cihu Presidential Burial Place in Taoyuan
- The Daxi Presidential Burial Place in Taoyuan
Specifically at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, the Honour Guard of the ROC Army performs a changing of the guard ceremony daily with 4 guardsmen changing duties every hour. The National Day Honour Guard Battalion is also made up of personnel of the honour guards companies of the aforementioned branches.
An honour guard battalion is also sported by the Republic of China Police.
In Tajikistan, the guard of honour is provided by men drawn from the four services of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Tajikistan: The National Army, Mobile Forces, Air Force, and the Border Troops, all under the command of the Ministry of Defence. Of the many roles of the Honour Guard Company of the Ministry of Defence (Tajik: Ротаи Каровули Фахри вазорати мудофиаи) has, providing ceremonial honours for foreign dignitaries and Tajik government officials at the Kohi Millat and other official buildings is the highest and most important of them all. Like its name implies, it is a directly reporting unit of the Ministry of Defence. The Presidential National Guard also sports its own honour guard battalion, with its allegiance being primarily to the President of Tajikistan in his/her position as Supreme Commander in Chief of the armed forces.
In Thailand, the honour guard role is taken on by the King's Guard (ทหารรักษาพระองค์; Thahan Raksa Phra Ong) units of the Royal Thai Armed Forces. The King's Guard come from all over the Thai military, owing allegiance towards the King of Thailand and the ruling Chakri dynasty.
The ceremonial uniform worn by the 1st and 2nd battalions of the 1st Infantry Regiment of the King's Guards, the seniormost of these units and more present in the public duties role, features a scarlet tunic and bearskin cap; similar to the uniforms used by foot guards in the Commonwealth of Nations. The regiment's 3rd battalion uniform features a white tunic and pink facings, with a pink bearskin cap. A tri-service guard of honour from the King's Guard is mounted during state visits, the naval and air force guardsmen are usually cadets from their respective service academies.
Several guard detachments operate within the Turkish Armed Forces. A joint service guard of honour company is in service in the Turkish Armed Forces' headquarters in Ankara, composed of select personnel from each service branch of the armed forces performing honour guard and public duties activities. In addition, the Turkish Armed Forces presently operates another ceremonial guard detachment at Anıtkabir, performing public duties at the mausoleum of the first President of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The standard rifle used by the guard detachment at Anıtkabir is a M1 Garand.
Ceremonial duties are usually served by the Independent Honour Guard Battalion of the Ministry of Defence. It composed of 100 soldiers representing the 3 main service branches of the armed forces, the Turkmen Ground Forces, Air Force and Navy.
The battalion is always in attendance in all military and social events invlolving the President of Turkmenistan, and other high-ranking officials in events such as state visits and military parades. The battalion is the first military formation to march on Independence Square in the annual Independence Day Parade. They also greet foreign leaders visiting Turkmenistan, as well as the Guard the National Museum of Turkmenistan. The battalion maintains a horse squadron for ceremonial escorts of foreign leaders visiting Ashgabat.
Ceremonial honour guards of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Uzbekistan, are provided by the Honour Guard Battalion of the Tashkent Military District (Uzbek: Toshkent harbiy okrugi faxriy qorovul tabibi, Russian: Батальон Почетный караул Ташкентского военного округа), which is under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense and is based in the Tashkent Region. The battalion is composed of over 100 soldiers, with each platoon being made up of servicemen from different branches of the armed forces. The ceremonial company of the Uzbekistan National Guard provided the guard of honour and served as pallbearers for the late Uzbek president Islam Karimov after his death in September 2016.
Two honour guard units fall under the People's Army of Vietnam, the Military Honour Guard Battalion of the Vietnam People's Army, and the Command of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Honour Guard. The military honour guard of the Vietnam People's Army provides the honour guard for state visits to the country, the National Day parade, days of remembrance, state funerals, and other functions as may be directed. The military honour guard unit is a part of the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army. Honour guards at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Honour Guard serve as the honour guard for the mausoleum. 
The Honour Guard of the Armed Forces of Belarus is the primary honour guard battalion of the Armed Forces of Belarus. It was created in 1995 as a result of a combination of 2 drill teams from different military academies in the country (the Minsk Air Defense and Rocket School and the Minsk Higher Military Command School specifically). The main honour guard is based in the capital of Minsk, under the direct command of the Minsk Military Commandant, while subordinate battalions are available all over the country. It is currently composed of personnel from the Army, Air Force, and Border Troops. Training in the unit lasts 6 hours per day.
Bosnia and HerzegovinaEdit
The Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina maintains a representative honour guard unit of the Armed Forces of BiH. Dressed in their notable blue and yellow uniforms, the OSBiH Honour Guard Company provides honours at all important state and military events, representing the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the OSBiH. The unit was officially presented to the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina for development on November 26, 2004 and was the first formed unit of the OSBiH. In the first twenty days of its existence, intensive training was conducted in the Butmir camp, supervised by British Army officers in the Household Division. By 2007, the unit had been a fully functional structure in the OSBiH, operating under the Military Police Battalion in Sarajevo. The organizational and formation structure of the company as of 2019 includes the Headquarters Group, Colour guard, 1st Platoon, 2nd Platoon, and 3rd Platoon.
National Guards Unit (Bulgarian: Национална гвардейска част), established 1878, includes military units for army salute ceremonials, a band and a wind orchestra. In 2001 the National Guards Unit was declared the official military unit representing the Bulgarian Army and one of the symbols of modern state authority along with the flag, the coat of arms and the national anthem.
In Croatia, the Honour Guard Battalion (Croatian: Počasno-zaštitna bojna) serves as the guard of honour. The Honour Guard Battalion performs protocol tasks for the needs of top-level state and military officials, as well as tasks related to the protection and security of the Commander-in-Chief (President of the Republic of Croatia). It consist of up to 300 members. The unit is under direct command of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia.
Ceremonial duties are usually served by the Castle Guard, a special unit of the armed forces of the Czech Republic, organized under the Military Office of the President of the Czech Republic, directly subordinate to the President of the Republic. The Army of the Czech Republic is represented by the Honour Guard of the Czech Armed Forces (CAF Honour Guard), which was founded in 2005.
The company is currently made of 38 soldiers who are organized in the following manner:
- 1 commander of unit (currently Captain Miroslav Leška)
- 3 colour guard members
- 27 Honour Guard soldiers
- 4 reserves
The Royal Life Guards is an infantry regiment of the Danish Army. It serves in two roles: as a front line combat unit, and as a guard/ceremonial unit to the Danish monarchy. Danish Amalienborg palace is guarded by this unit day and night. The Guard Hussar Regiment Mounted Squadron also serves ceremonial purposes, such as providing escorts for VIPs and performing public duties.
The Republican Guard of the National Gendarmerie provides both foot and horse-mounted guards of honour for the city of Paris. It specifically provides ceremonial security to the Élysée Palace, the Hôtel Matignon, the Palais du Luxembourg, the Palais Bourbon, and the Palais de Justice. A quad-service honour guard company composed of members of the Republican Guard, as well as personnel from the French Army, French Navy, French Air Force, and the French Foreign Legion, is also used for ceremonial services, primarily state visits and during state funerals involving distinguished civilians and fallen personnel of the armed forces.
Aside from its duties as a rapid emergency response unit, the National Guard of Georgia is also responsible for mounting the guard of honour on behalf of the Defense Forces of Georgia during state visits, state funerals and national holidays. The company sized unit of the NG also conducts Public duties in the national capital, guarding important structures and buildings in Tbilisi.
The primary mission of the Wachbataillon is to perform the military honours for the German Federal President, Federal Chancellor, Federal Minister of Defense and the Inspector General of the Bundeswehr during state visits or on similar occasions. In addition, the Wachbataillon takes part in military events and ceremonies of major importance. A secondary mission is to perform ceremonial guard duty at the Ministry of Defense and other high-profile public places, and protect and guard the members of the German government and the Ministry of Defense.
In Greece, the Presidential Guard is a unit of the Greek Army guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Presidential Palace. Its members, known as Evzones, must be taller than 1.85m and are trained hard as their duty includes standing completely still for more than an hour 4 times a day. They are famous for their military discipline, the ability to stand motionless without even blinking, their stylish walking and the uniform which derives from traditional Greek dress. A tri-service guard of honour composed of servicment from the Hellenic Army, the Hellenic Navy, and the Hellenic Air Force is maintained as part of the Ministry of National Defence.
The Honour Guard in Hungary was the Hungarian Defence Forces 32nd Budapest Guard and Ceremonial Regiment (Hungarian: MH 32. Budapest Őr- és Díszezred) until 31 December 2006, at which time it was disbanded. From 1 January 2007 was the Ceremonial Battalion branch, part of the MH Támogató Dandár (MH TD, HDF Support Brigade) until 31 December 2010. Converted from 1 January 2011 to Nemzeti Honvéd Díszegység (National Home Defense Ceremonial Band) as part of the MH TD and achieved the service from 25 April. The official honour guard of the Hungarian People's Republic was the Hungarian People's Army's 7015th Ceremonial Regiment (Hungarian: Magyar Néphadsereg 7015 Dísz -és őrezred).
In Ireland, a guard of honour is drawn from the Irish Army and is called 'Garda Onóra' in Irish. It is inspected by the President of Ireland, Taoiseach or visiting dignitaries. Specifically, battalions from the Infantry Corps are drawn for guards of honour, to form the Ceremonial Military Guard. Personnel carry dignitaries. Personnel of the guard carry Steyr AUG rifles and wear the Service Dress (SD) on ceremonial occasions. The Irish Defence Forces guard of honour participates in ceremonial events such as the National Day of Commemoration, the National Famine Commemoration and the Easter Parade. Guards of honour also take part in the Changing of the Guard at Merrion Square park in the capital.
In Italy the unit institutionally intended to act as an honour guard to the President of the Italian Republic is the Corazzieri Regiment, a special branch of the Carabinieri. The Corazzieri follow the President during official occasions and are also partly responsible for the internal security of the Quirinal Palace. In addition to the Corazzieri, there are other honour units chosen from the different Armed Forces, specifically for representation purposes. These units have to stand guard at important places, such as the gates of the seats of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Altar of the Homeland, and at the gates of the Quirinal Palace.
Example of honour units from the different Armed Forces are:
- Italian Army:
- Italian Navy:
- Italian Air Force:
- Honour Company from COMAER (Comando Aeronautica Roma), the Air Force's headquarter in Rome.
- Italian Carabineri
- Selected Active and Ceremonial Platoons
During state funerals, honour guards are granted to the departed by the protocol. The guards are positioned at the entrance and the exit of the place in which the ceremony is held. Aside from the aforementioned services, honour guards are also found within the Guardia di Finanza, Polizia Penitenziaria and the Polizia di Stato. They perform the same duties mentioned above.
In Moldova, ceremonial honour guards are based on both the Russian and Romanian tradition and precedent. The two main honour guard units of the country are the Honour Guard Company of the Moldovan National Army and the Honour Guard of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The former unit provides personnel to conduct regular public duties in the capital of Chisinau, particularly for the President of Moldova in his/her position as Supreme Commander in Chief. It is the currently only unit in the Moldovan military to utilize the Soviet-style goose step. The latter unit is notable for it's use of Stefan cel Mare era uniforms in its exhibition drill routine.
The Ceremonial Guard Battalion (Церемонијален гардански баталјон, Ceremonijalen gardanski bataljon) is part of the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia which is mainly used for ceremonial purposes. It is the personal guard of the President of North Macedonia. The National Guard can be often seen near the presidential palace, during official visits of foreign presidents or delegations, ceremonies and during the days of the flag. In 2010 the Ministry of Defence proposed and designed new uniforms for the guards. Both, the old and the new uniforms, are based on the uniforms of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) revolutionaries with some details of the other periods of the history of North Macedonia. Influence over the new design were based on the uniform worn by Bulgarian revolutionary Dedo Iljo Maleshevski and the uniforms of the 19th century Bulgarian Legion regiment which served in the Imperial Russian Army.
Hans Majestet Kongens Garde (His Majesty The King's Guard in English) is a battalion sized honour guard unit of the Norwegian Army under the ceremonial command and patronage of the current King of Norway. Also known as the HMKG, the battalion comprises six companies, with the 3rd company, the famous band and drill company, being the premier ceremonial unit in the HMKG, mostly serving its required public duties at Oslo's Royal Palace.
The Honour Guard unit in Poland is the Pulk Reprezentacyjny Wojska Polskiego (Representative Honour Guard Regiment of the Polish Armed Forces), created on 30 March 2018 on the basis of the Representative Honour Guard Battalion.
Also posted within its ranks is the Presidential Mounted Ceremonial Troop of the Armed Forces, which also acts as an honour guard and horse guard unit. Service branches of the Armed Forces, the Warsaw Garrison and other civil uniformed services all maintain honour guard units of their own.
The Brigada 30 Gardă „Mihai Viteazul” (Michael the Brave 30th Guards Brigade) of the Romanian Land Forces serves as the honour guard brigade of the Romanian Armed Forces. The brigade is present at ceremonial events and during visits from international officials.
The Romanian Gendarmerie maintains an honour guard unit, called Unitatea Specială de Gardă de Onoare și Protecție Instituțională București (Bucharest Institutional Protection and Honour Guard Special Unit), and a horse guards troop acting during state ceremonies and celebrations of the service. From 1947-1989, ceremonial duties were provided by the Garda de Onoare a Armatei Populare Române (Honour Guard Unit of the Romanian People's Army), which was a unit of company size.
Russian honour guards have been considered to have laid out the foundation and model for honour guards in the former Soviet Union, and many of the pioneer guardsmen in these units came from the Imperial Guard, who then taught the first generation of honour guardsmen in ceremonial duties. Russia's primary honour guard (Russian: Почётный караул, Pochotny kara-ul) is the Kremlin Regiment of the Federal Protective Service of the Russian Federation, established in 1936. The 154th Preobrazhensky Independent Commandant's Regiment, established in 1979, serves as the official representative honour guard regiment of the Russian Armed Forces and serves as the main honour guard unit of the armed forces.
Military districts and fleet formations of the Russian Navy also have their own honour guard companies. Examples of honour units from all three branches of the Armed Forces, alongside those of other paramilitary formations, include:
- Russian Ground Forces:
- Honour Guard Company of the Western Military District - It was formed on 20 January 1961 by the order of the Commander of the Leningrad Military District. In 1983, it was put under the command of the 165th Separate Rifle Company. It is based in St. Petersburg.
- Honour Guard Company of the Central Military District
- Honour Guard Company of the Southern Military District
- Honour Guard Company of the Eastern Military District - It was formed on 14 December 1971 and is currently led by Lieutenant Colonel Dmitri Zielinski
- Volgograd Honour Guard
- Russian Navy:
- Honour Guard Company of the Russian Navy
- Russian Air Force:
- Honour Guard Company of the Russian Air Force
- Other agencies:
- Honour Guard Company of the Interior Ministry
- Honour Guard Company of the National Guard
- Honour Guard Company of the EMERCOM
- HQ Honour Guard Company of the Border Service of the Federal Security Service
The Serbian Guards Unit is an elite unit within the Serbian Army, of brigade size, under the direct command of Serbian Armed Forces Chief of Staff. Its purpose to secure vital facilities of the defense system and performing military honours to highest foreign, domestic and military officials.
For the needs of Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Army General Staff, the Guard Unit performs tasks within the scope of the military police work and the tasks in the field of logistics and security. Guard continues the tradition of Serbian Guard units which is now almost two centuries long. The first Guard unit formed in Serbia was created on the order of Prince Milos Obrenovic on St. George Day in 1830 in Pozarevac. The Guard Unit also sports the official military band of the Serbian Armed Forces - the Guards Band.
The Slovak Armed Forces currently operates two ceremonial guard of honour units. The Honour Guard of the President of the Slovak Republic also known as the Presidential Guard is the seniormost ceremonial unit in the Slovak Armed Forces, and the primary honour guard unit of the President of Slovakia. This unit serves under the command of the Military Office of the President of the Slovak Republic.
The Honour Guard Company of the Slovak Armed Forces (Slovak: Čestná stráž Ozbrojených síl Slovenskej republiky, CS OS SR) is a separate ceremonial honour guard unit of the Slovak Armed Forces, under the direct command of the Bratislava Garrison Headquarters. The unit was founded in 2009 as part of reforms in the armed forces. It is responsible for guarding the national symbols of Slovakia (The national flag, for example) in the front lobby of the National Council Building.
On top of bodyguard services & overseas deployment, the Spanish Royal Guard (Guardia Real) also perform ceremonial & honour guard services. The regiment's Honour Group and Royal Escort Squadron are the primary ceremonial units of the regiment. The following units of the honours group provide guards of honour for ceremonial occasions such as state visits:
- Army Company "Monteros de Espinosa"
- 1st Platoon
- 2nd Platoon
- 3rd Platoon
- Drill Team Platoon
- Navy and Marine Composite Company "Mar Océano"
- 1st Platoon
- 2nd Platoon
- 3rd Platoon
- Air Force Squadron "Plus Ultra"
- 1st Flight
- 2nd Flight
- 3rd Flight
The Royal Escort Squadron provides the ceremonial escort of the Spanish Royal Family and is organized into:
- Marker Squad
- Cuirassier Troop
- Lancer Troop
Honour guard service is carried out by all units of the Swedish Armed Forces, although the Life Guards Regiment (Livgardet) in the Swedish Army accounts for the main part of honour guard services. The Royal Guards (Högvakten) at the Stockholm Palace and the Drottningholm Palace is the honour guard to the King of Sweden. The service is carried out by the Life Guards as well as other units of the Swedish Armed Forces including the Home Guard and other voluntary defence organisations.
The Grenadier company of the Life Guards is used as an honour guard at state visit welcoming ceremonies. A detachment of grenadiers is also used as honour guard at the opening of the Riksdag, when an incoming foreign ambassador meets with the King at an audience to present letters of credence and when the King attends an annual meeting of one of the Royal Academies.
Drabantvakt ("Royal Bodyguard"), commonly known as Karl XI:s drabanter ("The Bodyguard of Charles XI") and Karl XII:s drabanter ("The Bodyguard of Charles XII") is a ceremonial guard used at state occasions such as state visits, investiture of a monarch, royal weddings and funerals etc. The guard was formed in 1860 based on historical royal bodyguards. The design of the uniforms of the guard is based on, but not identical to, uniforms used during the reign of Carles XI and Charles XII respectively. The guard consists of 24 soldiers and one officer selected from the Life Guards.
Swiss Armed Forces honour guards are based off of the German, French and American model for ceremonial drill. Switzerland does not have a professional honour guard unit. The military instead utilizes a battalion-sized capital unit that is used during official visits. Unlike other European countries, Swiss honour guards wear combat uniforms instead of an expected full dress uniform.
The Kyiv Honour Guard Battalion, which is part of Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky Independent Presidential Guard Regiment, is the official ceremonial guard of honour unit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. It was formed from the guard of honour units in the Ukrainian SSR's Kiev Military District. Besides the HQ company, the battalion maintains three companies, a Military Band, and a Symbols Protection Company. The NGU National Honour Guard Battalion of the National Guard of Ukraine is actively in use for many ceremonial activities, and was also in service prior to the disbandment of the Internal Troops of Ukraine in 2014.
A guard of honour is formed to present formal ceremonial compliments to royal or presidential dignitaries by a guard not exceeding 100 personnel (including three officers, one with a colour) with other particular distinguished individuals saluted by a guard not exceeding 50 personnel. A half guard is a colloquial term describing a guard of honour of not more than 50 personnel (including two officers, one with a colour). A guard of honour could have a single service contingent (e.g. army) or it could be a tri service (inter-service) affair. The guard commander, after saluting the dignitary (usually head of state), marches up to him or her and escorts him or her to inspect the guard (soldiers in formation). During the salute, the national anthems of both the dignitary's country and the host country are usually played by a ceremonial band.
Only a standard, guidon, Queen's Colour, or a banner presented by either a member of the Royal Family or the governor-general may be carried by a royal guard of honour. Only a regimental colour or a banner presented by a personage other than a member of the Royal Family may be carried on a half guard of honour. A smaller unit honouring distinguished visitors at a military installation is known as a quarter guard. The commander is three paces in front of the second file from the right and accompanies the personage for whom the guard is mounted. An officer carrying the Colour stands three paces in front of the centre; if there is a third officer he will be three paces in front of the second file from the other flank.
Units that traditionally perform ceremonial duties, such as Guard Mounting (changing of the Queen's Guard) or Trooping the Colour, are the five regiments of Foot Guards and the Household Cavalry (Blues and Royals and Life Guards), which form the Household Division. The Royal Air Force's ceremonial unit is the Queen's Colour Squadron. The British Armed Forces do not have dedicated ceremonial units, although some units such as the Scots Guards have a battalion designated to perform public duties. Generally, units from all three services not deployed overseas will rotate and share public duties at various major historic landmarks (e.g. royal palaces and castles) through the country.
The Queen's Guard is primarily made up of units from the Household Division for royal palaces and public monuments—namely Buckingham Palace, St James's Palace, Windsor Castle, and the Tower of London—and other units from all three services of the British Armed Forces filling in when not deployed; in Scotland, Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle are usually the responsibility of Scottish regiments or units based in Edinburgh. Occasionally units from Commonwealth militaries are given the honour.
The tri-service Federation Guard, consisting of members of the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Australian Navy provides guards of honour for various ceremonies. It is the only military unit of its kind currently in the Australian Defence Force (ADF). All members of the guard are enlisted in their respective areas before volunteering for service in the guard. The rifle of choice is the L1A1 SLR.
Fijian Presidential Palace Guards serve as the official guard of honour unit of the President of Fiji. It is made up of members of all the different service branches of the Fiji Military Forces. It primarily serves its ceremonial duties at the Government House in the capital of Suva. The guards regularly take part in the changing of the guard at the government house. The uniform consists of a Red military shirt and a traditional Fijian Sulu. The guards main rifle that they carry is the AK-101.
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is represented ceremonially by a unit that is known commonly as the Royal Guard of Honour, which is a company sized (100 members) unit that is composed of members of soldiers of the Army, Navy, and Air Force. The company is the official honour guard of the Governor General, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defence, and the Chief of Defence Force. The company mostly performs its public duties at national events such as the Anzac Day commemorations in the capital. The Army portion of the company is notable for its most visible "lemon squeezer" hat.
In recent years, association football teams have shown their respect to teams in their own division which have already won their league title at the end of the season with games to spare by forming a guard of honour onto or off the pitch for their players. The applauding team forms two lines to make a corridor and the league winners pass through the corridor, generally in single file. The guard of honour is in some instances considered good form to perform but is not considered compulsory and teams may opt not to provide one, as especially tends to happen between teams considered particularly bitter rivals.
The same has occasionally been done for individual players meeting particularly momentous points in their career, such as when Scottish Premier league team Rangers squad did so for departing talisman Dado Prso and Chelsea controversially chose to do so in a pre-planned display in the middle of a match for John Terry's last game, causing significant delays to the game.
Australian rules footballEdit
In Australian rules football, players will often form a guard of honour for those who are leaving the field after a landmark game or on their retirement game. For example, Fremantle formed a guard of honour for Fitzroy's last match in 1996. Melbourne and Essendon formed a guard in 2005 to honour Indian Ocean tsunami victim Troy Broadbridge. Collingwood and North Melbourne formed a guard of honour in 2006 for retiring player Saverio Rocca, who forged a successful goalkicking career at both clubs. After playing in the little league at half time of senior matches, the junior players line up to form a guard of honour for when the players return to the field.
In cricket, the guard of honour is used to celebrate the achievement of a player (usually as a batsman), normally used during a player's final game. The players' teammates or opposition form a cordon, with their bats at the second count of the draw saber forming an arch, and the successful player walks through. It may also be performed to mark a milestone, such as when a player breaks a world record. A player can receive guard of honour multiple times as they retire from different forms of the game separately. When a bowler retires, it would generally be when they leave the field for the final time, or when they play their final match in a certain venue of importance (away match, home ground, retiring on the same day a ground is due to be demolished).
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