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When The Colors Fold: New Honor Guard Leader Sets Standard
by USAF Senior Airman Neil Warner - February 1, 2012

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Members of Team Shaw's Honor Guard, work as a team folding the flag at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Jan. 23, 2012. Shaw's Honor Guard provides funeral service details, and other services to four states, 75 counties, and approximately five million residents. Photo by Senior Airman Neil Warner
Members of Team Shaw's Honor Guard, work as a team folding the flag at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Jan. 23, 2012. Shaw's Honor Guard provides funeral service details, and other services to four states, 75 counties, and approximately five million residents. Photo by Senior Airman Neil Warner
 SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. (1/27/2011) -- What would make you want to fill someone else's shoes? For Tech. Sgt. Rachel Hill, Shaw's new Honor Guard non-commissioned officer in charge, it was her grandfather's funeral.

Hill is a Columbia, S.C., native who originally enlisted in the Army before joining the Air Force in 2006. Out of her ten years of service, six were spent serving as apart of an honor guard unit.

As a young Airman, she witnessed a series of disturbing events during her grandfather's funeral which inspired to join the honor guard.

Hill watched in disappointment as the service concluded with her grandfather's flag needing to be refolded three times.
After witnessing such a poor performance by the honor guard detail who presided over her grandfather's funeral, Hill was motivated to take action.

 She later joined her base honor guard while stationed at McEntire Air Force Base, S.C., and immediately strived to set the bar for standards, conduct and discipline among her unit.
Her selection as NCOIC of the Shaw Honor Guard was based on her long term experience and knowledge, according to Hill.

“I'm excited to have the opportunity of filling such an important role for the Shaw Honor Guard,” Hill said, “I plan to lead by example and pass along knowledge that I've gained from my experiences over the years.”

As Hill begins to settle into her new position, she said, she's now starting to realize just how vast her responsibilities are, as NCOIC.

“The area we provide our services for is rather immense,” Hill explains. “Shaw's Honor Guard provides funeral service details, and other services to four states, 75 counties, and approximately five million residents, we have to be on our game at all times.”

Recently, Hill and her team traveled to Columbia to provided funeral detail services to a Vietnam veteran who passed away. Hill led the detail with two of her airmen as they rendered the proper services and respect due.

“It's such a great opportunity for us to work with an NCO that has so much experience,” said Airman 1st Vernon Rogers “Sgt. Hill's performance during today's funeral detail was stellar. She really sets the standard.”

Hill feels fortunate to have such a great group of airmen who are passionate about what they do and are willing to learn, she said.

“Master Sgt. Jimmy Counts was my predecessor,” Hill said “And he left some big shoes to fill, but I look forward to working with my airmen and exceeding the standard.”

More photos available below

By USAF Senior Airman Neil Warner
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2012

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