Harley F. Burns

Navy Ceremonial Guard

     Harley F. Burns was born at McCune-Brooks Hospital in Carthage, MO on March 26, 1957. He is the son of James and Helena Burns. Harley graduated from Carthage High School in 1975 where he was a member of the basketball team. On November 10, 1979 Harley joined the service. After completing bootcamp he had his choice of details in Diego Garcia Navy Base or Washington D.C. Harley choose going to Washington D.C. where he met his wife, Dorena, in February 1980. They have 3 children, Brandon, who was born at Andrews Airforce Base, and Briana and Bryan who were born in Joplin, MO after the family returned to Carthage, MO.

  While in the Navy, Seaman Burns was chosen to the Presidential Honor Guard, Color Guard Platoon. Established in 1931, the Ceremonial Guard represents the Navy in public and military ceremonies in Washington. They serve as Color Guard for various events in the Washington area as well as funerals at Arlington National Cemetery. Members are specially selected and assigned to the unit. They hold White House security clearances because of their duties near the president and other heads of state.

 One of Seaman Burns most prominent roles as a member of the Navy Ceremonial Guard was participation in the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan on January 20, 1981. Burns was an usher and assisted seating of distinguished guests on the presidential platform at the event. Seaman Burns was very honored to have participated in the inauguration and excited to have been part of a historic event.

Seaman Burns was also a member of the Ceremonial Guard that represented the Navy and the Nation at dignitaries’ funerals, presenting colors at the Arlington Unknown Solders Tomb, and several NFL Games.

After the Navy, Harley and his family moved back to Carthage in 1983 where he worked for the State Highway Department for five years, and then K.P.L. Gas Company where he retired after twenty-nine years in 2016. In retirement, Harley enjoys spending time with his wife and children.


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