The Last Roll Call. CSM Chris Raines US Army (Ret)

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Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Sep 9, 2006
The Last Roll Call

When a Soldier in the Army dies on active duty, the members of his unit perform a rite called The Last Roll Call as part of the Unit Memorial Ceremony. The Last Roll Call is usually led by the senior noncommissioned officer in the unit and is a simple yet poignant way for a unit to say a final farewell to one of its own. For those of you unfamiliar with the significance of the ceremony, a few links are provided below.

Unit Memorial Ceremony and Last Roll Call

Significance of Taps

Significance of the Three Volleys

The composition of the Unit Memorial Ceremony varies from unit to unit and is based in large part on the wishes of the family and unit members. Elements that usually take place include a eulogy, prayers, music, the firing of three rifle volleys, the playing of Taps, and the Last Roll Call. A display involving a pair a boots, an inverted rifle, a helmet, a set of the Soldier’s dog tags and a picture of the Soldier is also usually part of the ceremony.

The way the Last Roll Call works, the unit’s top NCO calls the name of each man in the lost man’s unit, leaving the name of the lost man for last. The men in the unit respond in turn as their names are called. The name of the fallen is called three times, with the last time being the individual’s full name and rank. Of course there is no answer, because the lost man is no longer with us. It is hard to recreate the powerful emotions felt when the lost Soldier fails to respond when his name is called.

After the Last Roll Call, a firing detail fires three volleys (some people confuse this with a 21-gun salute, which is actually something completely different) and then Taps is played.

The Last Roll Call is a very intimate ceremony and is seldom observed by those not in the unit or specifically invited to attend. We decided to have a Last Roll Call for CAR. We are making this public because since he was retired, we are all his unit now. The current and former admins and mods of ShadowSpear are all either current or former members of the military, and this ceremony has particular significance to them. They will now perform the Last Roll Call for CSM (ret.) Chris "CAR" Raines, and send him off in the manner in which he deserves.

Chris memorial.jpg
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