March Total Force Honor Guard Recognizes Top Performers at Annual Awards Banquet

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U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Tiffany Lindemann

The March Air Reserve Base Blue Eagles Total Force Honor Guard held its annual awards ceremony Saturday, Aug. 8, at the Cultural Resource Center here.

The ceremony recognizes honor guard members for their exemplary performance in various categories.

While it is tradition for the honor guard to symbolize strict discipline and uniformity for military funerals and formal ceremonies, the awards ceremony was a chance for members to celebrate their accomplishments and relax for an evening, said Col. Douglas Weskamp, 163rd Attack Wing (California Air National Guard) vice commander and event host.

The three flights, Alpha, Bravo and Training—each made up of active duty, guard and Reserve Airmen, entered the ceremony in an informal fashion, dancing to the sounds of Bruno Mars and Katy Perry.

“It was such a privilege seeing these guys and girls outside their guarded and professional selves,” said Weskamp. “It was so rewarding and uplifting to see them recognized for their honorable actions.”

The ceremony also included a keynote speaker, Chief Master Sergeant Tina L. Casen, the Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA) to the Command Chief of Space and Missile Systems Center and principle senior enlisted advisor to the commander at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California.

Casen spoke encouraging words of overcoming adversity to be a champion, as honor guard members do on a daily basis, she said.

“This is your day, own it.” Casin said to the honorees.

Sharing her personal adversities with guard members, Casin expressed how she overcame those challenges to be the Air Force leader she is today.

After the keynote speeches and a remembrance video, members were awarded for their efforts throughout the last year.

Awards included the Honor Guard Excellence Award, one of the highest recognized awards, as well as Most Improved, Best Dressed, Best Performer and Rookie-of-the-Year. 

Senior Airman Astin Coleman, an honor guard member from the 452nd Force Support Squadron, was awarded for the most ceremonies performed throughout the last year.

“The Blue Eagles Total Force Honor Guard is one of the busiest honor guards in the country,” said Staff Sgt. John Hicks, the team’s NCOIC from the 412th Force Support Squadron. “

Responsible for providing honorable services for a geographical area of more than 50,000 miles of Southern California, the March team performed more than 1,800 military funeral honors and more than 200 ceremonial functions in the past year, Hicks said.