The newest issue of TV Guide calls the funeral episode a "Moment of the Week" and includes one of the photos released by NBC.
From the Daily Hampshire Gazette (subscription required):
"[LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.] Seven of the Los Angeles Air Force Base's elite color guard - including a Greenfield native - took part in the filming of a primetime network drama Feb. 9 at a local church.The Los Angeles Air Force Base Honor Guard was answering a request from NBC's ''The West Wing'' for an Air Force presence in a television episode featuring the funeral of the series' White House chief of staff.U.S. Air Force Capt. Kurt Mahar is stationed at the base, and is a member of the color guard. He graduated from Greenfield High School in 1993. He is married to the former Erin Underwood of Bernardston and is the son of Susan Mahar of Greenfield. The show will air April 16.According to his mother, Mahar's three to four minutes of fame was the result of nearly 12 hours of filming.''They wanted a real honor guard,'' she said. ''And when (Kurt) got the e-mail (to participate), he said 'yes' immediately.'' Mahar said Jimmy Smits and Martin Sheen were especially interested in the honor guard members. ''They were kind of like the stars among the stars, because people came over to them.'' When reached at her home in California, Kurt Mahar's wife, Erin, said the honor guard got to eat lunch with the show's cast - separately from the rest of the extras,'' she pointed out. Back in Greenfield, Susan Mahar said she's thinking of having a party when the show airs, on April 16, so that Kurt's friends and family can watch it together.''
As honor guard members and Air Force ambassadors, we jumped at this innovative opportunity to represent our service to the greater American public,'' said 1st Lt. Gordon Kordyak, the honor guard officer in charge.''We train very hard and take our responsibilities extremely seriously,'' said Staff Sgt. Corazon Pol of the 61st Medical Squadron. ''A chance like this lets us showcase what we've learned and show the world what the Air Force is all about -- honor and discipline.''
(Thanks to a poster at WWSpoilers for posting a reprinted version of this article)
Another photo from the shooting of Leo's funeral.
From a San Francisco Chronicle column:
"In Los Angeles, the nearly last episodes of "The West Wing,'' shot in recent weeks, include the unexpected death (in December) of John Spencer, the actor who played Leo McGarry. The fictional story line will include the death and a funeral for McGarry. An insider tells me that the show's execs made the funeral considerably shorter than Spencer's fellow cast members had envisioned, and there was some strife over that."
There is a full photo of Martin Sheen posing with airforce members.
From the Air Force News:
"LOS ANGELES Air Force BASE, Calif. - Seven of the base’s elite took part in the filming of a primetime network drama Feb. 9 at a local church.
The Los Angeles Air Force Base Honor Guard supported a request from NBC’s “The West Wing” for an Air Force presence in a television episode featuring the funeral of the series’ White House chief of staff.
“As honor guard members and Air Force ambassadors, we jumped at this innovative opportunity to represent our service to the greater American public,” said 1st Lt. Gordon Kordyak, the honor guard officer in charge.
“We train very hard and take our responsibilities extremely seriously,” said Staff Sgt. Corazon Pol of the 61st Medical Squadron. “A chance like this lets us showcase what we’ve learned and show the world what the Air Force is all about -- honor and discipline.”
The day’s production came on the heels of the real life death Dec. 16 of the actor, John Spencer, who played the character.
“John’s character was previously established as an Air Force veteran, and after his unfortunate death, we asked ourselves how could we integrate this into the show,” said Michael Hissrich, the show’s producer. “We wanted to incorporate the Air Force into his (funeral) service.
“We were all very close friends of John’s,” he said. “It’s going to be tough. The scene is full of strong imagery.”
These thoughts prompted a late call to the Air Force Public Affairs Entertainment Liaison Office in Los Angeles. This triggered a whirlwind of coordination through the public affairs offices of the Space and Missile Systems Center, the Secretary of the Air Force and the Secretary of Defense.
“Extras, they can look good … but having the real thing is the best,” Mr. Hissrich said. “The Air Force honor guard has helped us out a bunch and the Armed Forces have been great. This couldn’t have gone better.”
As part of the funeral procession, the honor guard interacted with actors Martin Sheen, Jimmy Smits and Bradley Whitford. Also, the producer said they went back and asked significant players of the series throughout the years, such as Stockard Channing, to be part of “Leo’s Funeral.”
The show will air April 16."