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Southern States Supports NCTA Caisson Unit


The NCTA Caisson Unit honors a fallen officer.

Southern States is proud to support a unique partnership between the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and the North Carolina Trooper's Association (NCTA) which honors police officers and firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Established in 2005, the North Carolina Trooper's Association Caisson Unit participates in funeral services in North Carolina and neighboring states. "A caisson unit funeral is the greatest honor that can be bestowed on a fallen officer," said retired NC trooper and NCTA Caisson Unit Coordinator Tim Tarleton.

Governed by North Carolina Highway patrol policy, daily operation is conducted by the NCTA. Ten to twelve uniformed officers stand ready to travel on twenty-four hours notice.

Requirements for caisson unit members are high. Interested officers must undergo an application and evaluation process, and approval by both the North Carolina State Highway patrol and the NCTA. In addition to equine experience, applicants "must have a desire and understanding of what this unit does and its meaning to the family of slain members," Tarleton said.

Military personnel from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as the Old Guard, provide initial training for members of the NCTA Caisson Unit. All selected members complete intense training in areas such as protocol, military posture, and equine care.

One of the NCTA Caisson Unit's Freesian horses.

The original team of four Friesian horses, bred in Holland, was donated to the NCTA Caisson Unit. Of the four, two remain in the unit, but will soon be retired. A second team of horses came from the U. S. Army 3rd Infantry at Arlington Cemetery. This team of five Percheron and Morgan horses carries a special piece of history. Two of the horses, "Danny" and "Grant," were on the team that carried President Ronald Reagan's casket. "We are proud to own that small piece of American history," Tarleton said.

The NCTA Caisson Unit receives no state funds for its operation, and depends entirely on grants, donations and partnerships. "Our partnership with Southern States allows us to maintain healthy horses by feeding Southern States equine feeds," Tarleton said. "We are so grateful for the sponsorship of Southern States and others to help us achieve our mission of honoring slain police officers and firefighters."

The NCTA Caisson Unit transports a fallen officer.


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