News: ANG's Outstanding Honor Guard Program Manager of the Year: Master Sgt. David Coker
Story by Senior Airman John Hillier
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. - Spending time outdoors is what motivates Master Sgt. David Coker, the Air National Guard 2014 Honor Guard Program Manager of the Year.
Coker is a services craftsman with the 128th Force Support Squadron, at General Mitchell Air National Guard Base, Wisconsin, who was selected for his leadership excellence and selfless commitment to service members and veterans.
Coker was inspired to join the Air Force by his grandfather, who served as an Army cook during World War II. As the dining facility manager for the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Coker follows in his footsteps. He served almost four years on active duty, including a deployment to Cairo during Operation Desert Storm. It was there that he met his wife, a civil engineering Airman with the Wisconsin Air National Guard. Upon his return, he moved to Wisconsin to be with her.
Leadership is a way of life for Coker. As the Honor Guard program manager, he coordinated details from the 128th Honor Guard for 200 funerals and events across two states to ensure proper respect was paid to veterans for their distinguished service and sacrifice. Coker and his team have developed a reputation for their performance rendering honors, so much so that area police have requested him by name to train their own honor guard details.
"We work with active duty Airmen a lot, mainly the Honor Guard team at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois," Coker said. "When we go on temporary duty for training, we usually go to an active location and work with our active duty counterparts. Sometimes they have that stereotype in mind of 'oh, they're just Guard guys,' but they soon realize we're a pretty smart team."
While physical fitness is important part of every Airman's routine, Coker leads by example. Fitness is so ingrained in his life; he says that his favorite regulation is AFI 36-2905, which governs the Air Force Fitness Program.
"As our Wing Fitness Manager," says Coker. "I believe that if I am going to have that title I must also walk-the-walk and maintain an excellent PT score as well as set a good example for everyone around me."
When the holidays roll around, Coker enjoys any gathering of family and a chance to make sure everyone's fed.
"My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving," he said. "For one, it's the best meal of the year. I like to cook for Thanksgiving and show off my talents for the family. It's always a good time when everybody gathers together."
No matter the time of year though, Coker can be found in the woods or on a lake, enjoying his passion and a little solitude.
"I love to fish and hunt," said Coker. "I'm already eager to get out into the woods and put some fresh meat on the table. If there was such a thing, I'd be a professional outdoorsman. When I retire, I plan to spend the rest of my days on Earth trying to catch the biggest fish I can."
This work, ANG's Outstanding Honor Guard Program Manager of the Year: Master Sgt. David Coker, by SSgt John Hillier, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.