Honor Guards Gather for Joint Total Force Training

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
Thirty Airmen from a half-dozen bases around the Midwest refreshed their skills to serve as members of military honor guards during a week-long training session at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in mid-May.

"This training helps to ensure that every honor guard maintains the same high level of standards," said Technical Sgt. Ronald Marshall, a member of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Honor Guard at the base in Dayton, Ohio.

The training at Alpena brought together active-duty members of the WPAFB Honor Guard, such as Marshall, with Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve honor guard members from around the six-state region that the WPAFB team serves. Since the WPAFB team provides honors at as many as 3,000 funerals per year, they often have to rely on local Guard or Reserve Airmen to augment the WPAFB team. It is a Total Force approach - active Air Force, Guard & Reserve - to ensuring the job gets done and appropriate honors are rendered to a fallen Airman.

"This training allows people to get to know each other in a more relaxed setting so that they are able to perform their duty correctly when all eyes are on them at a funeral or other event," Marshall said.

Originally assigned to the honor guard team at WPAFB for a six-month stint, Marshall said he found he enjoyed the duty so much that he volunteered to serve full-time on the team about two years ago.

While members of the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve conduct local training at their home station, Master Sgt. Celese McGowan, who oversees the honor guard program at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, said the WPAFB team brings a high level of skill to the training.

"They are able to do this type of training every day - and it shows," she said, during a break in the class.

Among the skills reviewed in the class was folding the U.S. flag over a casket, firing rifle salutes and ceremonial marching, as well as various protocol issues.