The forty-hour course is designed to provide the necessary
initial instruction in all areas of being an Honor Guard member that
would allow members to perform in Honor Guard details. The training
ensures that members meet the strict standards that are laid out for
all Base Honor Guards by the Air Force.
The initial course is required to cover the basics in how to
properly perform everything from the unique Honor Guard marching
style to sensitive events such as funeral and casket details.
July 22, 2016 - Col. Shaun Perkowski, commander of the 167th Airlift Wing, addresses newly certified Honor Guard members upon their completion of a forty-hour training course at the Martinsburg air base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle)
While the initial training is always important to ensure
that the Honor Guard is properly representing the wing, this
round of training was especially important for the 167th in
that it allowed the Honor Guard to train a large group of
new team members, said Master Sgt. Marty Snider, the 167th
Base Honor Guard noncommissioned officer in charge.
“This training is important because you need to meet that base
standard as a minimum in order to be able to do your job,” Snider
said. “Also, you need legacy in any shop; you need that young blood
to continue what is left behind. If the older generation leaves and
there is no younger generation to carry on what they left behind
then you will always have a continuous, revolving door.”
The course is standardized for all Air Force components,
active-duty, guard and reserve, a fact that allows continuity
between the components and ensures all Honor Guard members are held
to the same standard.
This standard is important due to the high visibility of the
Honor Guard mission that often puts it directly in contact with
members of the public, Snider said. Whether it is a funeral detail
or a color ceremony, the Honor Guard can sometimes be the only
interaction people have with the military.
“The Honor Guard is a representation of the professionalism of
the wing,” Snider said. “If we don't look the part when we are out
there [in the community], if we don't look sharp and crisp then it
reflects badly on the wing. We are the true, visual focal point of
what the Air Force and the 167th stand for.”While most of the Airmen
participating in the “crash course” were new to the Honor Guard,
some, like Staff Sgt. Ryan Belfield, a 167th contract specialist,
have been members of the Honor Guard for some time but have never
received their initial certification course which was last held in
July 22, 2016 - U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ryan Belfield, a 167th
contract specialist and member of the base honor guard, salutes Col.
Shaun Perkowski, commander of the 167th Airlift Wing, during a
ceremony for newly certified honor guard members at the Martinsburg
air base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle)
Belfield, who has been in the 167th for more than five
years, joined the base Honor Guard in 2014 to become more
involved in and to give back to the wing.
“The Guard gives a lot and expects very little in return,”
Belfield said. “I think we owe it to ourselves and to the wing to do
what we can to give that little bit extra.”
Belfield, like Snider, sees the Honor Guard as a direct
representation of the wing making it important to ensure performance
is at the highest standard.
“It is very nice to wear the [Honor Guard] uniform; it gives me a
nice sense of pride to represent the wing,” Belfield. “As Honor
Guard members we directly reflect the image of the base so it is
important to make sure that we are correctly performing all aspects
of the job.”
By U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Nathanial Taylor
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