Professionals. The best of the best. The elite. These are all terms that come to mind when thinking about the 52nd Fighter Wing Honor Guard.
But what exactly does the honor guard do?
“The honor guard is a direct link between the American community and host nations,” says 1st Lt. Peter Daigle, 52nd Fighter Wing Honor Guard Officer in Charge. “We get the opportunity to be American ambassadors as a ceremonial guardsman.”
To become ambassadors of America, members of the honor guard must learn a variety of techniques and movements to rightfully give honors to those past, present and future.
Recently, the Spangdahlem Honor Guard team has created a fast-paced and new way to train their members to be fully mission-capable in a short period of time.
The new training program requires 40 hours of sustained training in a one-week period. During the week, honor guard trainees master the basics of ceremonial drill along with advanced ceremonies such as firing party, indoor and outdoor colors, parades, and funeral honors sequences.
This program is vastly different than the previous one, which was spread by word of mouth and lacking any sort of structure. Members were not trained as efficiently or effectively and would take sometimes five months before they were detail-ready.
Members will be fully trained in a week and be able to use training hours to perfect movements rather than relearning the basics.
Trainers say that this new regiment, will ensure people who really want to be there and prove they are the best of the best, have a chance to become part of an elite team and represent the U.S. Air Force.
“All I can say is just keep your eye on the honor guard,” said Staff Sgt. Josh McMillan, 52nd Fighter Wing honor guard NCO in charge of training. “Because things are changing, things are moving and we are going to be bigger than we were before.”