The Memorial Rifle Squad at Fort Snelling National Cemetery
Three rifle volleys and the solemn sound of taps have signaled a deserved farewell to more than 62,720 American Veterans since the Memorial Rifle Squad was organized in 1979.
The Historic Memorial Rifle Squad is the first and only all volunteer military rifle squad to serve continuously for over 34 years.
Our duty now is not to re-live these 34 years, rather it is to preserve, in current multi-media, a remembrance of past and present squad members. We also hope to save for future generations the remarkable accomplishments of an all volunteer group of American Veterans from all branches of military service.
The squad has a unique place in American history as it is the first such all volunteer squad, and the only squad to be completely self-sustaining; providing its own uniforms, rifles, and transportation all with private funds.
In addition, it has an unbroken record of never missing a funeral because of weather. When the cemetery is open, the squad is on duty and ready to serve.
Thus, for the benefit of future Minnesotans, this web site will document and illustrate the determined dedication of more than 130 veterans. Veterans who, so unselfishly each year give more than 39,000 hours of their time and travel more than 175,000 miles to honor men and women with whom the only common bond is service to country.
34 years, 62,720 funerals, 1,3025,000 volunteer hours and 5,950,000 miles traveled - For love of country. For pride in service to veterans and their families. For remembering freedom is not free.
We are proud and privileged to have serviced America and will continue our service to others by accepting this sacred duty to participate in a veterans farewell.
Mission of the Rifle Squad
The principal duty of the Memorial Rifle Squad is to provide a military ceremonial burial service at no charge for the family of an honorably discharged veteran. The service will be provided only if requested by the family, or a designated funeral director. Any unit of veterans organizations wishing to participate will be assisted by the Memorial Rifle Squad at Fort Snelling.
Services may be held from 10 AM through 2 PM, Monday through Friday. That time span is flexible to accommodate funeral services coming to Fort Snelling from outside of the Twin Cities area. Funerals are scheduled every fifteen minutes, and on days when the schedule is especially heavy, the lead car may request that the Memorial Rifle Squad perform their military honors first.