Orange PD honor guard pays tribute to veterans

By Lou Ponsi

The Orange Police Department’s honor guard brought a high level of precision, polish, and tradition to the city’s Veterans Day Tribute, held Nov.11, 2017, in front of the Veterans Memorial at Depot Park in Orange.

Paying close attention to military protocols and flag etiquette, the Orange PD honor guard participated in the city’s annual ceremony for the first time in recent history.

“For the community, it’s part of my job, but doing it for veterans … that, to me, is the ultimate honor,” said Officer Augie Rocha, team leader of the unit and an honor guard member in the Marines. “To put in the time and the work… It was for them. It was for their sacrifice when they served.”

Officer John Pickett leads the Orange PD Honor Guard for the City of Orange Veterans Day Tribute at Depot Park.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Rocha, along with fellow honor guard members Damon Allen, Colten Ivans, John Pickett, and Jahseam George, opened the ceremony by presenting the colors in front of a crowd of about 250 that included veterans from all five service branches.

The unit performed a flag-folding ceremony while a narrator explained the symbolism of each fold.

The honor guard then closed the event by retiring the colors from the flagpole behind the memorial.

“This is a pretty solid event,” said Pickett, a Marine Corps veteran. “Very well organized, very well done. I liked the representation in each branch. We had people from World War II here. Anytime you get a group of veterans dating back to that long ago, it’s amazing.”

Orange PD Honor Guard members and Veterans Day tribute participants from left: Orange PD Officer Jahseam George, Officer Damon Allen, Colten Ivans, Miss City of Orange 2017 Katie Wayland, John Pickett, Augie Rocha, and Mark Wayland, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and retired Orange firefighter and Reserve PD Officer, at the conclusion of the City of Orange Veterans Day tribute.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

The keynote speaker, veteran Frans VandenBroek, receives the flag from Orange PD Honor Guard member Augie Rocha at the conclusion of the flag-folding ceremony. Behind them, right, is Orange Mayor Teresa “Tita” Smith.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Veterans John Peralta, left, his father, Jack Peralta, and Jeff Warkentin stand for a photo at the start of a Veterans Day tribute in the City of Orange.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

The Orange PD Honor Guard from left: Augie Rocha, Colten Ivans, Damon Allen, Jahseam George, and John Pickett.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Katie Wayland, Miss City of Orange 2017, places a rose in front of the shield of each service.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Mark Wayland, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and retired Orange firefighter and Reserve PD Officer, left, starts his salute with his daughter, Katie Wayland, Miss City of Orange 2017, next to him at the conclusion of the Veterans Day tribute.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Officer Jahseam George of the Orange PD Honor Guard makes sure the American flag he is holding is unfurled before entering the ceremony.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Orange PD Honor Guard members Augie Rocha, left, and John Pickett participate in the flag-folding ceremony.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Orange PD Honor Guard member Augie Rocha enters at the start of the flag-folding ceremony.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Veterans stand as the anthem of their service is played with the Armed Services Medley during the Salute to the Armed Forces portion of the Veterans Day Tribute.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

The Orange PD Honor Guard and attendees of the City of Orange Veterans Day ceremony stand as the National Anthem plays. 
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC