Honor Guard Exhibits Excellence, Represents Service
(October 29, 2010)
|BOLLING AIR FORCE BASE, D.C. (10/26/2010 - AFNS) -- For
Airmen assigned to the United States Air Force Honor Guard
here, excellence isn't a trait to be desired, it's expected. |
"We are in the public spotlight day in and day out," said Staff Sgt.
Eric Allen, the media librarian for the USAF Honor Guard. "So every time
we do our job we have to make sure we are representing the Air Force
To do this, the 240 Airmen assigned to the unit spend their days
practicing drill and other ceremonies that are part of the USAF Honor
Guard's responsibilities. These range from rendering honors at funerals
to marching in parades to performing advanced drill movements at public
"If we're here and not performing, we're practicing," said Airman 1st
Class Robert Barnhart, a trainer with the Honor Guard's firing party.
Members of the U. S. Air Force Honor Guard's firing party practice firing their rifles Oct. 25, 2010, at Bolling Air Force Base, D.C. The firing party conducts rifle volleys at funerals for veterans.
These practices aren't just busy work, either. Every movement of every
routine the Honor Guard performs has to be perfect - each hand moving at
the same time, each finger pulling a trigger simultaneously and each
drill movement synchronized expertly. So, practice makes perfect. And
the better the practice, the better each performance.
"If we put in the effort when we practice, then that makes us better," Airman
Barnhart said. "And the better we are here (on Bolling AFB), the better we look
out there." |
And out there, a lot of people are watching. It may be family members at a
fallen Airman's funeral, kids at a local middle school or millions of people
watching a former president's burial. But no matter the event or number of
people watching, the USAF Honor Guard's mission is always the same: Perform with
excellence and represent the service with pride.
"It's the most fulfilling job I've ever had," Sergeant Allen said. "And the
things we do aren't for us, but for the Airmen and families we represent."
There are two ways to join the USAF Honor Guard. Airmen can sign up while in
Basic Military Training and head to Bolling AFB right after graduation or Airmen
already in the Air Force can simply go to the unit's website,
www.honorguard.af.mil, fill out a package and wait to see if they are selected.
Upon selection, Airmen will go to Bolling AFB for an eight-week technical
"It's been one of the best experiences of my life," Airman Barnhart said. "If I
could do it all over again, I would."
Article and photo by USAF SSgt. Matthew Bates
Defense Media Activity-San Antonio
Air Force News
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