Memorial Rifle Squad
Rep. John Kline says the U.S. Army is reconsidering a decision to recoup Fort Snelling’s ceremonial rifles from the fort’s memorial rifle squad.
At each burial, the Fort Snelling memorial rifle squad will fire off a 21-gun salute using WW1 vintage Springfield O3A3 bolt action rifles. Squad members say the rifles are safe and simple to load. Recently, however, the squad learned that the U.S. Army is demanding that the unit turn over the government-issued rifles and exchange them for a different model.
The bus stops on the cemetery path and the silver-haired men file out, sober-faced and silent amid a sea of white marble tombstones. Some carry rifles, some flags, a few hold bugles. They’ve all come to say goodbye — to a stranger.