JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
U.S. Army Sgt. Jeffery Chappell, a Soldier in the Military Funeral Honors platoon - Caisson Section at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, is part of a team that conducts funeral honors to honor fallen Soldiers in the San Antonio, Texas community.
Chappell, originally from Atlanta, GA, has served as an infantryman since 2017. Serving with the Military Funeral Honors Platoon – Caisson Section is his second assignment, and it began as a culture shock for him. Only having ridden a horse twice in his life before this assignment, he now wakes up every morning at dawn to care for the horses.
Established after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the Military Funeral Honors Platoon-Caisson Section proudly honors fallen members of the military with funeral honors at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. They also support the San Antonio community by participating in parades, ceremonies, and mounted color guards.
“Being a part of the Funeral Honors Platoon means a great deal to me to be able to participate and honor fallen service men and women of this country,” said Chappell. “Although we do many funerals, the family of the fallen only get one funeral and we go into every precession knowing that.”
The Fort Sam Houston Caisson Platoon is comprised of 12 horses and one of only two active-duty, full-time caisson units in the United States. Although the environment can be somber, assignment to the Funeral Honors Platoon changed Chappell’s perspective and attitude in many ways, making him appreciate the smaller things in life. The significance of each service is demonstrated in how the unit focuses on every detail to ensure the highest honor is shown for the fallen Soldiers.
“My favorite part is just the big boy rules,” said Chappell. “All of us know what we need to do here, what needs to be done, and what horses need to be worked.”
Although the main mission is to deliver funeral honors, the day-to-day life for the platoon varies with post rides, training events, and ceremonies. Chappell says the members of the platoon work as a team to complete their mission.
Chappell explains how he greatly appreciates the horses and understands that the success of their mission depends on him and the other Soldiers in the platoon to take care them.
Chappell’s previous assignment with 3rd Infantry Division, in Fort Stewart, GA focused primarily on individual Soldier readiness for combat. At Fort Sam Houston, Chappel also focuses on the readiness of both himself and of the horses.