In a hotel room at the Amway Grand in Grand Rapids, the Michigan National Guard is in motion, preparing more than 500 guardsmen and women for Ford's hometown funeral. Major Robert DeCoster says it's a once in a lifetime opportunity, and his forces are proud to do it.
He says the state Army and Air National Guards have been working around the clock since Tuesday to ensure a smooth homecoming; it's a responsibility the National Guard has never been given before. It's their first presidential funeral.
"It's unprecedented that a guard unit would be handling the processes we're handling," DeCoster says.
Processes like transportation, security and the funeral procession. He says a funeral isn't just a duty-- it's also a true privilege. Sgt. Arlea Swager says at this point, the Guard is concentrating on the procession going smoothly.
The Guard is also working with organizations like the Secret Service, as well as state and local police. They're also responsible for the 21-gun salute during the funeral. On Wednesday, this unprecedented honor will be one of the Guard's proudest moments.
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