Camp Nelson Honor Guard is the Resident Guard of Camp Nelson National Cemetery. We are located in the rolling hills of Jessamine County, Kentucky just south of Lexington. We are one of only three honor guards in the nation that perform full and enhanced military honors using the caisson and riderless horse. We are the only honor guard that provides the single horse hearse for all military active duty personnel and veterans.
"Poor is the nation that has no heroes....Shameful is the one that, having them .... forgets."
We are not funded through the military or veterans affairs. We rely solely on private donations. One hundred per cent of all donations received are used solely for the Camp Nelson Honor Guard's mission, to bring honor and dignity to each veteran laid to rest on the quiet hillside of the Camp Nelson National Cemetery, in church yards, and in local cemeteries in and around Central Kentucky.
Memorial Day weekend, 4th of July, Veterans Day, Wreaths Across America, and many more events - the personnel of the Camp Nelson Honor Guard are there throughout the years, to lay wreaths on graves, and to provide comfort and conversation to family, friends and other visitors at the Camp Nelson National Cemetery/National Shrine. As comrades in arms, the Honor Guard considers it a privilege to serve.
Using donated horses, and based upon our unique Kentucky Civil War heritage at the Camp Nelson National Cemetery/National Shrine, the Camp Nelson Honor Guard brings honor and dignity to our military and veterans by performing enhanced military funeral rites.
We usually use Standardbred horses for the caisson. The riderless horse and his alternate are white Arabians. More horses will be added when the drivable caisson is implemented.
Present caisson is a replica of a battery wagon using Civil War era wheels. We now have a new six hitch limber and drivable caisson. Go to the Donations page for more information on how to become part of the history of the Camp Nelson Honor Guard.
The Honor Guard
The Honor Guard serves as the resident guard for Camp Nelson National Cemetery which is a federally-owned Cemetery. As a National Cemetery, it is available to families of veterans and military nationwide.
The Camp Nelson Honor Guard was formed by members of the Lexington, Kentucky, American Legion Man O War Post 8, Honor Guard members when a suggestion was made that the Cemetery would benefit from its own dedicated Resident Guard.
At present, 275-290 rifle details are being performed annually at Camp Nelson National Cemetery with American Legion Man O War Post 8 Honor Guard. Many others are performed by other visiting veterans' service organizations, such as American Legion posts and VFW posts' honor guard rifle details. We participate in many civic and patriotic events, assist families in their darkest hours, and are dedicated wholly to their mission. Trained at Arlington National Cemetery and using period civil war style uniforms, the Camp Nelson Honor Guard is like no other in the United States.
At present, the equine unit performs 60-80 services a year, mostly with Man O War Post 8, but with other visiting honor guards as well, including active-duty personnel from places like Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Fort Knox, Fort Campbell, Fort Rucker, and others.
Seasons of Mourning
Winter and summer, good weather and bad, the funerals continue. The dedicated volunteers of the Camp Nelson Honor Guard are there to escort our nation's own to their final resting place.
The Camp Nelson Honor Guard serves all veterans, regardless of ability to pay
The enhanced military funeral rites performed by the Camp Nelson Honor Guard follow military protocol. An average funeral using the caisson and horses incurs about $250.00 in expenses. An honorarium is requested to cover expenses. However, no veteran has ever been turned away due to inability to pay. Since the Camp Nelson Honor Guard is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, donations are tax-deductible. Please help us to continue to honor them.