News>Feature - Unwavering professionalism, commitment, honor, tradition: Do you have what it takes?
CAMBRIDGE, England - The Team Mildenhall Honor Guard performs a detail as a KC-135 Stratotanker performs a fly-by at Madingley American Cemetery in Cambridge, England, May 30, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ethan Morgan)
CAMBRIDGE, England -- The Team Mildenhall Honor Guard provides ceremonial services during the Madingley American Cemetery Memorial Service in Cambridge, England, May 30, 2011. The honor guard also performed a three-volley salute during the service in remembrance of fallen heroes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ethan Morgan)
RAF MILDENHALL, England – The Team Mildenhall Honor Guard folds an American flag during retreat here July 1, 2011. Their primary mission is to provide military funeral honors for deceased service members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ethan Morgan)
RAF MILDENHALL, England – Senior Airman Dalyn Lipps and Staff Sgt. Emmanuel Santillan, Team Mildenhall Honor Guard members, perform flag security detail during retreat here July 1, 2011. The retreat ceremony pays honor to the flag, as well as signifying the end of the duty day. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ethan Morgan)
RAF MILDENHALL, England – Staff Sgt. Emmanuel Santillan, Airman 1st Class Taylor Mogford and Senior Airman Zachary Kruly, Team Mildenhall Honor Guard members, perform flag security detail during retreat here July 1, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ethan Morgan)
by Tech. Sgt. Kevin Wallace
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
7/27/2011 - RAF MILDENHALL, England -- Dedicated to unwavering professionalism, committed to guard the honorable traditions the Air Force is founded upon, and prepared to represent the best of RAF Mildenhall to the American and British publics --- meet Team Mildenhall's Honor Guard.
Someone may be thinking, "Do I have what it takes to file among their ranks?"
If color guard details, presenting and posting American colors, performing retreat, conducting ceremonial flag folding, POW/MIA (prisoner of war, or missing in action) ceremonies, forming sword cordons, and traditional 21-gun salutes seems intriguing, then perhaps volunteering for the base honor guard is in order.
However, only the most professional and motivated Airmen can count themselves among their ranks, and to do so an Airman must be hand-picked by Capt. Matthew Addison, honor guard officer-in-charge, and Staff Sgt. Emmanuel Santillan, their non-commissioned officer-in-charge.
"The Team Mildenhall Honor Guard is made up of razor-sharp, dedicated and highly-motivated individuals who uphold standards of conduct and maintain a level of professionalism above all others," said Addison. "Our primary mission is to provide military funeral honors for deceased service members."
The base honor guard currently has 24 members and averages about a dozen events each month.
Once an aspiring member gets a go-ahead from their chain of command, they can contact Addison or Santillan, or show up at a practice to begin their application process.
But, honor guard leadership alone cannot guarantee a member's placement in their ranks. Commanders, first sergeants, and supervisors must agree in writing to release the individual for practices and official details.
Contracts are for one year from the date in which the member qualifies. Uniform and necessary items are provided free of cost to the member.
"There's a lot of pride associated with the honor guard," said Santillan. "We represent the Air Force to American and British civilians, and to other servicemembers. We take that responsibility very seriously."
His OIC agreed.
"Honor guard is a time-honored tradition for armed forces around the world to honor those who have served," said Addison. "It's a way to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom and future. We are ambassadors of the United States Air Force and represent all Airmen who came before us."
At an overseas location, that responsibility is more pronounced as the honor guard represents the United States government on foreign soil, said Addison.
Most official events where honor guard performs are part of our tradition and heritage, said Addison, adding:
"If there was no honor guard, not only do we not honor those that served before us but we lose a vital part of our history. Many times Team Mildenhall Honor Guard is the last face families of the fallen see before putting to rest their loved ones."
Practices are held every Wednesday from 3 to 5 p.m. except the first Wednesday of each month, when practice is from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Practice is held in Building 528, the hanger across from the Car Care Center.
Interested members should contact: Capt. Matthew Addison at DSN 238-4858, or Staff Sgt. Emmanuel Santillan at DSN 238-2073.