MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. - Respect. Honor. Service. These words are sacred to the 184th Intelligence Wing's Honor Guard. The honor guard performs a variety of military honors and services for currently serving or veteran military members, at official military functions and funerals.
Members from 184th Intelligence Wing Honor guard 2nd Lt. Aaron Farris, Tech. Sgt. Maurice Ballance and Tech. Sgt. Ashley Fournier rehearse rifle movements during an honor guard practice on June 9, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Lauren Penney)
“It's tough, but it's so rewarding to know that we provide the honors for these people,” said Tech. Sgt. Aaron Rausch, 184th Honor Guard's noncommissioned officer in charge. “You have your Vietnam veterans who never got their welcome home. The World War II vets are also very touching.”
A full honors funeral consists of the colors flight, firing party, pallbearers, an armed escort and the U.S. Air Force Band. This service is for retired officers, retired chief master sergeants, active duty repatriation, soldiers killed in action, an individual chosen by act of Congress, or a Medal of Honor recipient.
A retired military member receives a standard funeral, containing the firing party, pallbearers and a bugler. A veteran's funeral, for all other military separations, consists of a flag-folding and bugler.
Realizing the importance of the duties and wanting to improve, the 184th IW Honor Guard began working with their active-duty counterparts, the 22nd Air Refueling Wing Honor Guard. This partnership resulted in a combined funeral detail in September with two members of the 22nd ARW and five 184th IW members making up the team.
Funerals are an important duty the honor guard performs, but they also serve the community in other ways as well.
Rausch and other team members find it rewarding to carry the colors and participate in approved civilian and military parades. “We're walking and you see the respect everyone gives to the flag,” said Rausch. “They stand up and remove their hats. It's amazing.”
The honor guard members share their knowledge and respect for flag with the local community as well. They spend time in community schools and retirement homes in the area doing presentations on flag etiquette and how to properly fold the flag.
“It's great. Not only is it an honor, but the camaraderie is really good, too. We have a good group of people. We're all really close. We hang out, we make it fun,” said Rausch. “It's very rewarding and just makes you feel good inside.”
For more information on becoming a member of the 184th IW Honor Guard contact Tech. Sgt. Aaron Rausch or Master Sgt. Jerry Gardinier.
By USAF Airman Lauren Penney
Provided through DVIDS
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