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13 Soldiers Graduate from Illinois Army National Guard Military Funeral Honors State Certification Course

Thirteen Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers graduated from the Illinois Army National Guard’s Military Funeral Honors (MFH) State Certification course Dec. 16 at Camp Lincoln, Springfield, Illinois.

During the weeklong course, Soldiers learned how to provide dignified military funeral honors to veterans. At the end of the course, Soldiers were tested on the material.

The Soldiers were awarded the Army National Guard Honor Guard Tab and gold cord to be worn on the Army Service Uniform in recognition and representation of the Soldier’s continued dedication, precision, and commitment to excellence.

“The Military Funeral Honors teams conducted 2,695 funeral services during fiscal year 2023,” said Sarah Smith, the Illinois Military Funeral Honors State Coordinator. “Our team refers to funeral services as missions. Veterans helped shape our great country and honoring them is the best thing you can do. This is a no-fail mission. I am very proud of all our Soldiers for their hard work and dedication.”

The Soldiers graduating from the MFH State Certification course include:

  • Spc. Steven Castaneda of Bradley, Company A, 766th Brigade Engineering Battalion;

  • Pfc. Daven Melvin of Marion, Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment;

  • Spc. Diego Noguez of Lake Villa, 1244th Transportation Company;

  • Spc. Vincent Sauseda of Chicago, 3625th Classification and Inspection Company;

  • Sgt. Jack Whitlock of Springfield, 233rd Military Police Company;

  • Spc. John Kugler of Chicago, Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment;

  • Pfc. Felipe Sotelo of Franklin Park, 1244th Transportation Company;

  • Spc. Michael Jimenez of Macomb, 1244th Transportation Company;

  • Cpl. Christopher Jones of DeWitt, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment;

  • Cadet Flabia Justiniano of Bolingbrook, 933rd Military Police Company;

  • Spc. Hannah Hoffman of Decatur, Company E, 634th Brigade Support Battalion;

  • Pfc. Jack Gregory of Marion, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment;

  • Sgt. Zachary Heath of Mattoon, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment.

Justiniano was selected as the Honor Graduate for the course.

The ILARNG MFH is actively seeking Soldiers to join the program. Soldiers interested in joining the ILARNG MFH should contact Sgt. Luigi Cabantog at 217-685-4878.

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