Excellence in all we do
By Senior Airman Krystal Ardrey, 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 10, 2015
INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- "It's an Air Force tradition," said Staff Sgt. Andrea Stalter, 39th Operations Support Squadron airfield management operations supervisor, when asked why she joined the base honor guard, here. "For me it feels really good to be part of something that has a long heritage and has so much tradition, honor and pride in what we do."
Airmen, NCOs and Senior NCO's in specific duties, can be part of the base honor guard. However, only a few Airmen will go above and beyond their call of duty and demonstrate the discipline, integrity and attention to detail required in becoming a member of this exclusive team.
"I love the rich heritage and tradition behind the honor guard," said Senior Airman Darryl Williams, 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron central storage journeyman. "It allows you to look at the Air Force from a different perspective."
Due to the high number of mission critical jobs here at Incirlik AB, honor guard members do not serve in a three month tour of exclusively serving the honor guard - as the program is set up on many other bases. Instead, Airmen commit to a nine-month term of practicing for an hour and a half each week and one full day a month. The rest of the time, Airmen are in place at their regular jobs except when performing various ceremonies around the base.
"I think the main benefit of how the honor guard is set up here is that you do your job as well as honor guard," said Stalter. "We don't do any funeral details; in the states that is the main thing for honor guard, but since we are missing that big portion here, there is really no need for us to be pulled from our jobs."
With the mission always going forward, Airmen often do not perform with the same guardsmen each ceremony. To ensure every member is ready with their specific detail for each event, the honor guard arrives at the event location two-hours before the ceremony starts for a final practice. During this time, any issues can be worked out and the members perfect their movements within the detail. Arriving early also provides plenty of time for the guardsmen to ensure their uniforms look sharp.
Five to ten minutes before they are needed, they line up at the door and wait for the announcer to call in the detail to post the colors.
"There are so many different emotions that go along with performing a ceremony," Williams said. "It's a very humbling experience."
According to Stalter, being in the honor guard has helped to instill a higher level of pride in what she does, broadened her horizons, increased her understanding of the core values and decreased her fear in public speaking.
"Being in the honor guard has improved me as an Airman," Stalter said. "My attention to detail has been increased - I'll notice little things. I'm more aware of uniform standards and standards of conduct in general. It has also improved me as an NCO because we go through professional development in our practices and it helps me to bring this back to my shop and show my Airmen that these are the standards we should be abiding by."
The Incirlik Base Honor Guard is always looking for new recruits. Airmen who are interested in joining the honor guard should contact the 39th Force Support Squadron, their first sergeant or supervisor.