Air Force Honor Guard instills value and hones skill of base guardsmen
By By Airman 1st Class Gage Adison Daniel, 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 03, 2019
CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M -- Recently, the Cannon Air Force Base Honor Guard had the opportunity to train with the Air Force Honor Guard to perfect their movements and knowledge of their duties.
“It was a complete turnaround of our team,” said Tech. Sgt. James Balajadia, 27th Special Operations Wing base Honor Guard noncommissioned officer in charge. “We’ve made drastic improvement in just two weeks of training. Our standards have increased, a new bar has been set and a new foundation has been instilled within us.”
The Air Force team began their training by breaking everything down into the fundamentals of Honor Guard movement. This included facing movements and precise positions of hands on rifles, flags and even the position of attention.
“They taught us by showing us the correct way to do the things we had misinterpreted from our instructional binder,” said Airman 1st Class Andrew Terry, a base Honor Guardsman. “They watched our every move and critiqued us accordingly to ensure we were performing at their standard.”
Overall, the experience helped the base Honor Guardsmen come together to conquer a new challenge that, in the end, made them an even more professional team than they were before. They plan to use what they learned to continue growing as Airmen and Guardsmen, remaining sharp, crisp and motionless.
“We are going to completely restructure how we train our future Airmen to match what we have learned from the Air Force Honor Guard,” Balajadia said. “But we didn’t just learn drill movements; they taught us the mindset of a guardsman.”
These guardsmen are taught being exceptional means having exceptional bearing and accepting the responsibility of being in a duty that requires a high level of attention to detail and no room for error.
“We are going to carry the mindset they taught us,” Balajadia said. “Though we have seen it ourselves through funerals, colors and other details, they shared their experiences, related to us, and made it all mesh and come together. They showed us the bigger picture and gave us a deeper connection and bigger sense of pride in what we do.”
However, being in the Honor Guard is more than just perfecting every movement, every flick of the wrist with a rifle in hand, it’s about making a lasting impression. For some, the Honor Guard is the last memory of the military they have.
“In the Honor Guard, I’ve found more meaning to being a part of the Air Force,” Terry said. “I’m at ceremonies presenting colors for the national anthem, I’m there when they publish the orders for a retirement and I’m there handing off the flag to the next of kin when a service member who once paved the way for me passes away. I get to physically be a part of people’s lives, careers and lasting memories.”
Every member of the Honor Guard wears a nameless uniform, making them indistinguishable from one another, all working as one unit and one team to create and shape a lasting memory for anyone who encounters them.
“We are all the same in uniform and all you know is we are the Honor Guard,” Balajadia said. “The impact we leave is an intangible satisfaction of giving ourselves to others. Rain or shine, we are guardsmen.”