UNDISCLOSED LOCATION – "Sharp, crisp and emotionless," base honor guardsmen at the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing here exemplify Air Force precision and carry on traditions dating back to 1948.
“The mission of honor guard is to continue the legacy of those who have and continue to serve, and provide honors to all U.S. and coalition partners, past and present,” said Tech. Sgt. Christian Farin, the 379th AEW honor guard NCO in charge deployed from Joint Base Charleston, S.C., and a Mililani, HI, native.
Much like base honor guard at home station, they are responsible for posting the colors at regular ceremonies including promotions, changes of command among other base events. They provide cordon teams for the arrival of distinguished visitors and occasionally perform retreat ceremonies.
“Our main tasking is to support unit and morale functions here,” said Master Sgt. Devin Carter, the honor guard lead trainer deployed from Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, and a Milwaukee, WI., native.
Typically, there are base honor guards at most deployed locations, Carter said.
“I think it's important to have an honor guard anywhere you have a military installation,” said Staff Sgt. Stephen Dimando, a 379th AEW honor guard trainer deployed from Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, and a San Antonio native. “It’s one of the most important pieces to the mission and recognizes so many veterans who have done great things for our service.”
Deployed service members here join the honor guard for a number of reasons, one being an opportunity to develop professional skills.
“I believe the honor guard gives Airmen an opportunity to lead, who typically don’t have the opportunity to do so,” Carter said.
The base populace sees Airmen lead and perform precision movements in front of the base commander and other distinguished visitors, he said.
Others do it to carry on a family legacy.
“My grandfather was an NCOIC of the base honor guard at MacDill Air Force Base, FL., when he was stationed there,” said Dimando, who’s served in honor guard eight years at five different bases. “So it’s a big part of my family military history and I feel like I'm carrying on the legacy my grandpa started.”
There are nearly 20 members in the all-volunteer force, mostly Airman and a single Marine, but the team is open to all service members here who are interested in getting involved. No prior experience is necessary.
“We practice on Mondays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m.,” Carter said.
Once they have learned to precisely execute all of the movements, they are able participate in ceremonies here. To receive a “black rope,” however, members are evaluated on facing movements, weapon and flag handling and commanding a ‘colors detail.’
“One privilege of wearing the honor guard black rope while in your everyday uniform is an increased sense of pride of being a part of an elite team of professionals,” Farin said. “However, with the short period of time we’re here, each member has to have an extraordinary level of commitment and dedication to achieve it.”
Black rope evaluations take place every Thursday at the end of practice.
Deployed honor guardsmen extend the standard of excellence associated with honor guardsmen at home station into the expeditionary setting.
“Honor Guard represents professionalism,” Farin said. “An increased sense of pride is felt when performing a detail [in a deployed location], knowing we are taking care of our duties regardless of our location away from our beloved country and our family.”
||BOISE, ID, US
||MAPPSVILLE, VA, US
||MILILANI, HI, US
||MILWAUKEE, WI, US
||SAN ANTONIO, TX, US
This work, Grand Slam honor guard represents precision, excellence, by SSgt Bahja Jones, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.