Airman Soars New Heights With Air Force Honor Guard
In one facet of service, the United States Air Force Honor Guard ensures a legacy of Airmen who protect the standards, perfect the image and preserve the heritage at the highest echelon of professionalism.
On the other side of the spectrum- Battlefield Airmen are always ready to deploy while maintaining combat and specialty training standards matched only by their profound sense of discipline and loyalty.
One technical sergeant from Moody’s 823d Base Defense Squadron (BDS) is preparing to make the transition from protecting lives in combat to honoring the Air Force. Tech. Sgt. Dallas Ayers, 823d BDS assistant flight chief, was recently selected for the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard.
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Dallas Ayers, 823d Base Defense Squadron assistant flight chief at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia saluting with the adjacent scene showing him folding the flag in "Honor" during March 2018. Ayers made the transition from protecting lives in combat to being a proud member of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Air Force photo illustrations by Airman 1st Class Erick Requadt)
“I’ll miss (the BDG),” said Ayers. “I love being able to go outside the wire, meet the locals and see the difference we make in the community. It’ll be a night and day difference, but I’ll love just being able to see how the other side of the Air Force works, because I’m going to come back to being a cop again, so I can bring my experience of how big Air Force thinks and how everyone impacts it.”
Ayers was chosen through the Developmental Special Duties Program, which selects Airmen who demonstrate exceptional performance and have a high capacity to lead.
At first a little hesitant at what to expect, Ayers got the opportunity to go to Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington D.C., to see how the Air Force Honor Guard trains.
“Any change can be scary,” he said. “Even if it’ll be for the better you’re still nervous. Deploying has basically been the only thing I’ve known while in the Air Force. It’s a different atmosphere, but everyone (at Bolling) was super nice. To me, family is everything, and everyone who was there expressed that family atmosphere.”
While Ayers shadowed the Honor Guard for a week, he got to see the level of dedication they put into their training every day.
“I got to see everyone in action, from the drill team spinning their rifles to the firing party. They were constant professionals working on perfection. I’m going to love this experience and embrace it the best I can, smiling and enjoying my time.”
While at Bolling, Ayers had the chance to watch a funeral at Arlington Cemetery. Ayers said he was amazed by the Honor Guard, their professionalism and uniformity, along with the majesty of the horse drawn carriage, being followed by the band playing the whole time marching from the church to the cemetery.
After his experience with the Air Force Honor Guard, Ayers decided to join the base honor guard, wanting to get as much training and knowledge as he could before his jump to the next stage.
Ayers explained, performing at funerals has been an eye-opening experience, calling back to his times in firefights while deployed.
“It’s a hard time, because you think this could have been the last time I saw my wife and kid. I feel that because it’s more personal, I try and put myself in (the family’s) shoes. That family member is their everything, and they’re gone, and I just want to do the best I can to help them heal during that time.”
When it comes to excelling in Honor Guard, Tech. Sgt. Forris Phillips, NCO in charge of base Honor Guard, explained how Ayers already exemplifies that core value of service before self.
“This is not a job where you come over here for self,” said Phillips. “You come over here to be a team member and to honor those who have come before us in the military. I enjoyed having [Ayers] on the team, because he is one to lead by example. He showed his teammates that ‘even I need to be practicing. No matter what my rank is, I’m not bigger than the team, I’m a part of the team.’”
Not surprised Ayers made it into the Honor Guard, Staff Sgt. Brian Saulet, 23d Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler and long-time friend, expressed how he felt Ayers was a leader that would live up to the standard of perfection found in the Honor Guard.
“He is one of those guys where if you trained him to get it done, he’d get it right,” Saulet said. “And if you can move a squad of 13 people, then you should be able to control four or five guys.
“Moody is definitely losing an amazing NCO, a leader, and whoever is under him is going to excel.”