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Press Release

Release Date: April 06, 2022
by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

The Chickasaw Nation supports a proud group of veterans who represent the tribe at many community functions.

“The Chickasaw Honor Guard represents the Chickasaw Nation at functions such as ceremonial services, parades, funerals and memorial services. We have traveled to northern, southern states and to the east and west coasts,” said Ted Underwood, vice president of the Chickasaw Honor Guard.

The honor guard travels the state and across the nation to attend many events throughout the year.

It is comprised of devoted veterans from all walks of life. Established in 1993 by a group of Chickasaw veterans, the first official honor guard ceremony was posting the colors at the 1993 Chickasaw Annual Meeting and Festival, as well as participating in a parade following that event.

Located within the Chickasaw Honor Guard Building, dedicated in 2020, are meeting rooms, storage areas and offices available for the honor guard to conduct business throughout the year. The Chickasaw Nation believes it is essential to honor the work this group does and provide a space for growth and operation.

One of the most important services provided by the Chickasaw Honor Guard are military funerals. Active duty and National Guard units cannot provide teams to serve at veteran military funerals. Veterans do not have to be Chickasaw to have funeral services provided by the Chickasaw Honor Guard. Any veteran’s family can ask the Chickasaw Honor Guard to provide military honors at funerals. The honor guard recognizes any and all who have served their country.

“Military funerals are important,” Underwood said. “It is ‘honoring/final salute’ to the veteran for their military service from a grateful nation by three volleys of rifle squad, Taps and folding of the U.S. flag covering the casket. We then present the flag to next-of-kin or friend as a token of appreciation for honorable, faithful and dedicated service, and offer condolences for losing a loved one.”

First Americans serve in the military at a higher rate than any other demographic within the United States. These warriors, both men and women, represent the Chickasaw Nation and all First American men and women of all armed forces.

The Chickasaw Honor Guard uses the same protocols at events as the military. The honor guard carries the U.S. flag, the Chickasaw Nation flag and the Oklahoma state flag. The Chickasaw Honor Guard will often work and march with other honor guards of First American nations when they are together at a state or national event.

“It is a great honor and privilege serving with other members of different military branches and First Americans,” Underwood said. “We are not only ambassadors for the Chickasaw Nation but represent all other honor guards or color guards nationwide.”

To request the honor guard’s service, complete the Honor Guard Request Form at Chickasaw.net/HonorGuard. Services and activities will be scheduled according to request, date, time and place.

The Chickasaw Honor Guard is looking for dedicated men and women from all military branches to join a long line of Chickasaw veterans continuing the tradition. Requirements to join include being a Chickasaw citizen, having served in one of the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces with a discharge or release other than dishonorable, or currently serving in the U. S. military. Uniforms and training are provided.

For more information, please contact the honor guard at (580) 272-2550, email Veterans.Services@Chickasaw.net or visit Chickasaw.net/HonorGuard.