It was on June 7, 1988, that the U.S. Army at Fort Sam Houston started to cut back on funeral support for full military honors for military veterans at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. Assistant Cemetery Director at the time Joseph Ramos became concerned of the curtailment and brought the matter to the attention of his supervisor then Cemetery Director Steve Jorgensen. Joe Ramos suggested the possibility of creating a Memorial Rifle Squad where members from the city’s various Volunteer Organizations could be recruited to establish the squad. Steve Jorgensen thought it was a great idea. Joe Ramos did not know exactly how to go about it but as he was thinking about it, he noticed two uniformed soldiers approaching the building. Joe Ramos approached them about his concerns and the idea he had of forming a Rifle Squad. They left him with the idea and agreed to look into the possibility and would return. The two soldiers returned with Bob Garcia who eventually became the MSD Founder and the plan to establish a Rifle Team and with the support of people like State Senator Frank Tejeda, Medal of Honor Cleto Rodriguez, and volunteers from the Veterans of Greater San Antonio Area, the all military volunteer Non Profit Non Funded Fort Sam Houston Memorial Services Detachment (MSD) was established in December 17, 1991 but not without years of planning with finding a place to house the Detachment, obtaining the rifles, recruiting members, acquiring Uniforms and most importantly Funds.
On December 17, 1991, the MSD began Rendering Military Honors to veterans at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery with one Squad and 21 members. 3 funerals were performed on that day and a total of 14 funerals during the month of December 1991. Bob Garcia was elected as its First MSD Commander.
Thirty (30) years later, I am the 19th Commander. MSD currently has 5 Squads, one for each day of the week, MSD currently has 107 Active Members, MSD as of December 1, 2021 has performed 41,377 Funerals at no cost to the families. This year alone, we project it will be our busiest year projecting over 1,900 Funerals. MSD remains Non Profit 501(c)(19) and non funded. MSD member’s average age is 72. As the Commander, I am so grateful and proud for these men and women’s dedication and devotion to the MSD mission even though each one of them have serious illnesses and disabilities, as it is often said among our members, it is our responsibility to pay the final act of respect for our veterans who all have given a portion of their lives to protect and preserve our liberties and to give solace to the families left behind.
I want to express my appreciation to all of our MSD Supporters and donors because without them we could not get it done.
Credit given to historical data signed and unsigned.