Local

October 25, 2013

Airmen serve to honor fallen

Master Sgt. Keith Cooper, 56th Force Support Squadron Luke Air Force Base Honor Guard superintendent, inspects Airman 1st Class Boushon Arnold, 308th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, Oct. 7 during a uniform inspection at the Airman Leadership School parking lot.

It’s silent except for the clicks resonating from the shoes of six honor guardsmen coming toward the funeral party. In unison they stop, come to attention and march forward to begin the honors for a fallen serviceman.

The Luke Air Force Base Honor Guard team spends numerous hours training and preparing their uniforms while on and off duty to provide proper military service at a variety of events.

“Our main mission is to provide professional military honors for funerals,” said Master Sgt. Keith Cooper, 56th Force Support Squadron Honor Guard superintendant and former Air Force honor guardsman. “We also do color guard and retirement ceremonies, sword cordons at weddings, rifle cordons for dignitaries, flag raisings, and retreat and reveille ceremonies.”

Luke honor guard members spend countless hours perfecting their movements. It is their service to honor others.

Airman 1st Class John Bowling, 56th Force Support Squadron B flight trainer, issues rifle commands to Honor Guard rookies Oct. 3 in their first month rotation. The rookies are learning the firing party sequence, which is used during funerals.

“The amount of training is dictated by our workload,” said Senior Airman Jeffrey Borland, 56th FSS A flight trainer. “It really depends on our detail schedule and if there is time in between details to train.”

For a new trainee or rookie the training is fitted into a four-week program.

“The first month consists of learning the most fundamental movements for color guard ceremonies and funerals,” Borland said. “Rookies will train at least eight hours a day on rifle movements, the basics of carrying a staff and essential flag folding movements for funerals. Typically by their fourth week they will be going on details.”

Rookies will also have their uniforms custom fitted during their first month rotation. Once fitted, the uniform must be properly prepared to fit honor guard standards.

Honor Guard members move a mock casket during a six-man retirement sequence. Luke Honor Guard personnel train for funerals, color guards, flag raisings, sword cordons and more.

“I typically spend four hours working on uniforms with the rookies once they get their uniform back from alterations,” Borland said. “These hours are spent getting the aiguillette pinned on, honor guard badge placed along with their ribbons and work badges.”

Rookies then spend time on their own to work on taking off excess strings and lint, Borland said.

In honor guard just one string, slightly crooked ribbon or badge can be a demerit when getting their uniforms inspected.

“It’s constant maintenance,” Borland said. “We steam, iron, shave, lint roll and polish our uniforms daily to make sure they are looking perfect.”

Being in the honor guard is serious work, but it is also a great place to make new friends and memories.

Senior Airman Ethan Retallack, 56th FSS honor guardsman, holds the flag in front of a mock casket after doing a full dress on the flag. Full honors are performed for retired vets, which includes executing a six-man casket sequence.

“We take our job seriously but we also know when it is the appropriate time to have fun and get to know each other,” Borland said. “I like it because it’s a good change of pace for me and gets me out in the city to see new things and meet new people. So far, my favorite memory would be going to the NASCAR events since it’s not only a lot of fun but we also got to meet celebrities.”

For Senior Airman Branden Palmer, 56th FSS honor guardsman, who is on his second rotation, being able to serve in the honor guard is the ultimate honor.

“I take my job very seriously because I want to do the best I can,” Palmer said. “When I’m on a detail, I always think of the person I am doing it for. I love being in the honor guard.”

Luke Air Force Base Honor Guard members do an average of 70 funerals per month for military veterans.

Master Sgt. Keith Cooper, 56th Force Support Squadron Luke Air Force Base Honor Guard superintendent, inspects Airman 1st Class Boushon Arnold, 308th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, Oct. 7 during a uniform inspection at the Airman Leadership School parking lot.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Senior Airman Devante Williams

56th FW has new mission

Senior Airman Devante Williams Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, left, 56th Fighter Wing commander, and Charles Lilly, right, lithograph artist, present the new 56th Fighter Wing lithograph May 21 during the 56th FW change of mission cer...
 
 

Develop your replacement

Although it might be a hard pill to swallow in today’s self-esteem charged, participation-trophy society, we are all replaceable. I often say of the Air Force’s perpetual personnel moves, we are all transitional employees so we should subscribe to the “hit by a bus” theory of leadership development. In other words, if you don’t show...
 
 

Balance

It is obvious, since the beginning of time, society in general has become more and more advanced. Today’s Air Force is absolutely no exception. As Airmen our mission is simple — to fly, fight and win. However, when we look at the essence of what each one of us do in the Air Force, that...
 

 
Senior Airman James Hensley

A mother’s right …

Senior Airman James Hensley Senior Airman Marcy Copeland, 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, closes a curtain to the nursing room May 13 at the 56th Force Support Squadron Child Development Center on Luke Air For...
 
 

News Briefs May 29, 2015

Leadership Gold Members of the Profession of Arms Center of Excellence are visiting Luke to present Dr. John Maxwell’s Leadership Gold, which grows leaders and fosters teamwork, at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Navy Operational Support Center, Bldg. 300, Room 412. The event is open to all military and civilian service members...
 
 

35 senior airmen graduate ALS

The 56th Fighter Wing Airman Leadership School graduated 35 senior airmen May 14 from class 15-4. The award winners are: John L. Levitow Award: Noah Bolton, 56th Operations Support Squadron Distinguished graduates: Jared Clark, 56th OSS; Jacob Gagnon, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron; and Rodney Yolangco, 56th OSS Commandant’s Award: Jared Clark, 56th OSS Academic Achievement...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin