The mission of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard is to be a positive representation of Airmen to the general public. Be it the posting the colors at a football game or performing military funeral honors at the service of a retiree who served their country for 20 years, the HG can be the first or last impression someone has of the Air Force.
Honor Guard at the base level is no different, and the Airmen of D-M Honor Guard train daily to uphold the lofty standards that were set before them.
“We train every day,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Schwebach, 355th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance apprentice and 355th Force Support Squadron HG flight sergeant. “Regardless of rank or tenure, we train. Sometimes it’s indoors with the training manual, sometimes its outdoors with the rifles, but whether you’re an Airman 1st class or a staff sergeant you are out there training.”
Most members of the D-M HG volunteered for the position. Base HG is considered a special duty. A typical duty with the HG is a six-month contract. Airmen can leave their units for six months straight, or participate on an every-other-month basis.
“The amount of bearing and discipline that it takes to be in the HG shows just how serious these Airmen take their duties,” Schwebach said. “No one really wants to stand out in 107 degree heat in full ceremonial blues, with gloves, and not be able to move. But we understand how important it is for that lasting impression we leave to be sharp and professional.”
Honor Guard members perform at an array of base functions, such as funerals, change of commands and induction ceremonies, as well as community events to show base support.
“Being in the HG, to me, is a huge honor and a huge responsibility,” said Airman 1st Class Camilla Griffin, 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs photographer and 355th FSS HG member. “When you’re off base you are a representation of the Air Force. Many of the people looking at you have never seen a military member in a ceremonial capacity and you need to make sure that you are living up to what you represent.”
Davis-Monthan HG has an alpha team and a bravo team. Each team is comprised of at least 14 members at a time and the two teams alternate in service throughout the year. Airmen participating in the HG take a hiatus from their career field and concentrate on their duties to the HG.
“No matter if a person served four, 10 or 30 years, they’ve earned military rights at their funeral,” Griffin said. “Now it is your responsibility to represent the Air Force and your base during that ceremony. At the end of the day, you want to be able to leave that family with a sense of pride that their loved one served in the service. Make that performance so good that they say ‘Wow. My son, daughter or spouse wore that uniform too.’”
For more information concerning joining D-M HG, contact your unit first sergeant.