Airman Pursues Passion In Honor Guard
by U.S. Air Force Airman Azaria Foster
October 23, 2019
He learned early in his career that he had a passion for
instilling confidence and discipline into Airmen.
Sgt. Jamaal Smalls feels privileged to be the NCO in charge (NCOIC)
of Moody’s Honor Guard to pass those values into Airmen he leads.
Jamaal Smalls, right, NCO in charge (NCOIC) of Honor Guard,
critiques six-person flag-fold training, July 25, 2019, at
Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. Prior to being a part of
Moody’s Honor Guard, Smalls was a master military training
instructor. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Azaria Foster)
“This is what I love to do,” said Smalls. "I love drill,
providing military honors to families who’ve lost members and
talking with the community. Initially when I was asked if I wanted
to be the program manager of the Honor Guard, I was a little
hesitant, but then I realized it’s what I’m good at doing.”
Smalls, a prior master military training instructor (MTI), remembers
having some hard first lessons in leadership and team building while
trying to earn the title of a Blue Rope MTI.
“I had to take a
flight I had never worked with through every drill they had learned
while at basic training,” said Smalls. “During the commands left
face and right face, some people weren’t responding.”
rope is expected to have the best of the best flights. With that in
mind, he could feel himself becoming irritated, but he knew better
than to let it show.
“After a while, they started to tune
into my command voice and respond accordingly,” he said while
smiling. “I was just glad that they caught on before I gave forward
Smalls said this event helped him learn to never give
up on his people.
“If I had given up on them during
individual drill movement, the rest of the control test would have
been a disaster, but I didn’t give up on them and they didn’t give
up on me,” he said. “We worked together as a team to complete the
Smalls said he uses that lesson almost every day
here, whether he is trying to share that knowledge with an upcoming
supervisor or keep it in the back of his mind while on the Honor
Guard training floor.
Tech. Sgt. Jesse Larson,
left, NCO in charge (NCOIC) of Honor Guard, hands the flag
to Tech. Sgt. Jamaal Smalls, NCOIC of Honor Guard, during
six-person flag-fold training, July 25, 2019, at Moody Air
Force Base, Georgia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Azaria
“Every now and then when I have a new Honor Guard class, I see my
MTI demeanor come out and I have to take a step back,” said Smalls.
“If someone isn’t understanding the sequence that we’re doing, I’ll
pull them aside and work with them one on one until they grasp what
they have to do.
“However, there are times I want to pull my
hair out,” said Smalls while grabbing fistfuls of nonexistent hair
from his head. “But I definitely never give up on them. I never
leave them behind.”
Throughout Smalls’ tour as a Blue Rope MTI he developed his
professionalism and attention to detail, which has an impact on the
Airmen he has worked with while at Moody.
“There are two
people I always say I look up to and he is my number one because
right when he got to Moody I could tell he was extremely
professional and I wanted to be like that,” said Senior Airman Lacey
Dixon, the NCOIC of the 23d Security Forces Squadron and a prior
troop of Smalls’. “He’s always on point with dress and appearance,
as well as his customs and courtesies.
“Sometimes he would
look at our uniforms because that’s what he was used to doing as an
MTI,” continued Dixon. “We caught him looking for loose strings and
we were like, ‘Dang, watch out. MTI Smalls is coming out.’ But he
always did it to better people. His number one thing is helping
people out and growing them as Airmen, which is especially important
in Honor Guard.”
Although Smalls no longer wears his campaign
hat, he is still leading Airmen.
“I’m still mentoring and
advising people that want to advance in their career,” said Smalls.
“I’m still doing drill. I’m still doing what I love to do, which is
leading people, leading Airmen.”
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