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Patriotic Article
By Sr. Airman Nathanael Callon

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Honor Guard Provides Unique Opportunity
(April 28, 2011)

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PANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS - 4/26/2011) -- The hurried commotion of people chatting and finding their seats overwhelms the room. A group of five people stand in the background; not one Airman says a word and all stand tall and unwavering.
Members of the 52nd Fighter Wing Honor Guard prepare to present the colors at a retirement ceremony April 22, 2011, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.
Members of the 52nd Fighter Wing Honor Guard prepare to present the colors at a retirement ceremony April 22, 2011, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.
These five Airmen are silent for a purpose. They are the color guard detail for the retirement ceremony of a service member who has spent 23 years serving his country; they are a part of the 52nd Fighter Wing Honor Guard.

"There is a lot of pride associated with the honor guard," said Staff Sgt. Louis Dymon, the 52nd Equipment Maintenance Squadron and 52nd FW Honor Guard assistant NCO in charge. "We represent the Air Force whenever we perform, so we take our responsibilities very seriously.

"We have the opportunity to visit many military memorials across Europe and present the colors or provide a firing party to honor the fallen," he said.

The honor guard presents the colors twice a year at the Luxembourg
American Cemetery, where Gen. George S. Patton is buried alongside 5,075 other American service members who gave their lives for their country during World War II.
"It is an honor to give back to the families of veterans," Sergeant Dymon said. "Their family member served their country and many gave their lives overseas, so it is the least we can do to show our gratefulness for their service."

The 52nd FW Honor Guard is responsible for supporting northern Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and northern France. They can be called to perform at memorial services, funerals, promotion ceremonies and retirements.

Whether the ceremony is a routine wing promotion or a special opportunity to represent the U.S. Air Force to the European community, the honor guard will be there.

"Some of the events we cover allow us to present the colors alongside World War II re-enactors," said Senior Airman Caleb Werdehausen, a 52nd Component Maintenance Squadron and honor guard member. "They have vintage U.S. Army uniforms, weapons and vehicles, which lets you experience history in a completely unique way."

However, maintaining the manpower necessary to support these events requires constant recruiting and training of new members.

"It doesn't matter if you are an airman or a major, we welcome anyone who is interested in the honor guard," Sergeant Dymon said.

New honor guardsmen must learn new drill disciplines, including how to carry weapons and flags, and perform as part of a larger team.

"Being a member of the honor guard requires discipline," Sergeant Dymon said. "But that discipline is essential to the professionalism we display whenever we perform."
Article and photo by Sr. Airman Nathanael Callon
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Copyright 2011

Reprinted from Air Force News Service

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