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Standardizing Honor

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Story by Samuel King on 04/10/2018
Volley rifles, fold flags and render salutes. Repeat.

That was the cycle of training more than 30 Airmen recently experienced over 10 days with the Air Force Honor Guard's mobile training team.

The Air Force's team sent three instructors here to evaluate and train local Airmen to ensure the marches, uniforms, movements and more met Air Force standards.

"Base honor guards are an extension of the Air Force Honor Guard," said Tech. Sgt. Steven Wojichowski, the MTT's lead. "Our goal is to get all units operating the same at all levels."

In the intensive training sessions, the instructors broke down each honor guard duty to the basic level and rebuilt, corrected and perfected the team's actions to meet the high visual and performance standards required by the Air Force instruction and team.

"No matter what type of ceremony we are called to, we are there to honor that person or event on behalf of the Air Force," said Wojichowski. "Our details create the memories families will always have - from the words spoken at the flag presentation to the sound of the rifles. We want to make sure those memories are perfect, right down to the last detail."

Airmen from local Air Force bases were encouraged to attend the joint Eglin and Hurlburt Field-funded specialized training. Teams from Tyndall, Hurlburt Field, Keesler and as far away as Cannon AFB took part.

Master Sgt. Jason Bernich, the Honor Guard NCO-in-charge at Keesler AFB, was grateful for the opportunity to learn from the best. He and his training team attended to gain the experience and pass it on to their local honor guard Airmen.

"With this training, we can say we're doing these ceremonies the same as Eglin, Tyndall and the Air Force," said Bernich. "It is key for us to see the way we've been training is, in fact, the correct way."
Bernich said for the most part their training procedures are accurate to the standardized Air Force way. He added the course did provide valuable insight, tips on timing, cadences and important steps that will improve his program's overall performance.

The course culminated at a graduation ceremony with the Airmen putting their newly-refined skills to use at a mock active-duty, full honors funeral.

Upon course completion, Senior Airman Michael Adams, 96th Logistics Readiness Squadron, said he gained a new confidence in his job performance with Eglin's Honor Guard and his role on the team.

"I feel much more proficient now," he said. "After the course, it's like having a stamp of approval from Air Force Honor Guard, that we're doing our job at the highest level possible."


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