Reflecting on my honor guard service

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Franklin R. Ramos
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Having been an honor guard member for the last 18 months was an awesome experience, and a great way to represent the Air Force and show respect to the families of those who have honorably served. I believe it's important for young Airmen to join because it helps build teamwork and leadership skills they can apply throughout their career.

Being handpicked to serve as a member of the Altus Air Force Base Honor Guard, one's standards of conduct and level of professionalism must be above reproach for they are seen as a representation of all others in their service.

These two characteristics help set the standard to honor those who served and lost their lives.

The honor guard is an important asset not only to the base, but to the surrounding communities. It shows our appreciation for the service to our country from their loved ones who have passed away. It gives them memories from when their loved one served and helps provide them closure.

Presenting the colors is also important because it gives people a sense of pride. For some, it gives them the idea of joining the military and even joining honor guard themselves.

If someone plans on joining the honor guard, they should talk with their supervisor first. The training is about two weeks long and consists of procedures such as standing movements, learning how to use rifles and how to perform military funerals and colors ceremonies. It eventually becomes muscle memory so when you're performing, your body remembers what it needs to do to make the performance look crisp and professional.

One of my most memorable moments was conducting my first funeral. Airman 1st Class Ty Cannon was positioned as flag fold, Airman 1st Class Seneca Herron as the bugler and myself as NCO of pallbearers. Once Taps played and the U.S. flag was folded, I had the honor of presenting the flag to the fallen service member's next-of-kin, she was a small, elderly lady with waterfalls for tears running down her cheeks. I said our speech of condolence to her, I was so nervous, but was able to maintain bearing and show the proper respect to her and her family as I presented her the flag that was draped over her husband's casket.

The same amount of appreciation we show to these families is the same we receive from them. As we're about to leave a service, someone would always come up to us and thank us for what we do and how it meant a lot to their family.

Honor guard has given me a sense of pride in honoring all who served past, present and future.