35th Honor Guard requires being the 'best of the best'
By Tech. Sgt. Stephany Johnson, 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 19, 2018
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Through precise drill movements, immaculate uniform appearance and attention to detail, Misawa Honor Guard ceremonial guardsmen display the integrity, service and excellence expected of Airmen around the world.
They are Airmen who leave their work centers, when the mission allows, to assume the role of base honor guardsmen. Being a part of the base honor guard takes patience, hard work, practice and pride.
“The Misawa Honor Guard is a voluntary position for Airmen to represent and honor traditions in the Air Force through ceremonial demonstrations,” said Staff Sgt. Charles Cooper, the 35th Honor Guard NCO in charge. “It’s for someone who wants to take pride in being a part of the U.S. Air Force.”
Misawa guardsmen show respect for former military members by performing flag folding and presenting the colors at ceremonies, funerals and other special events across the base and the local area.
“Being a part of the team means you are the face of the Air Force to global audiences and is one of the best things for your career,” Cooper explained. “Airmen not only gain knowledge but confidence for any setting and get the opportunity to stand up and become a part of something bigger than themselves.”
The year-long additional duty allows Airmen of all ranks to represent the Air Force. The team is always looking for sharp Airmen with a devotion to duty to join, said Cooper.
To become a ceremonial guardsman, candidates must first make it through the training period. Upon completing this training, participants must perform a hands-on test of basic honor guard steps before being accepted into the team, said Senior Airmen Tristen Meadors, 35th Honor Guard ceremonial guardsman.
“We are desperate for NCO volunteers to support and mentor the junior Airmen on the team,” explained Cooper. “And the best way to join is to just come out to one of our practices, meet the team, and then start the training to be a guardsman.”
The training period is self-paced and usually takes about two months to complete, said Cooper. The Misawa Honor Guard practices every Monday and Wednesday afternoon from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
“Guardsmen here have a large sense of comradery,” said Meadors. “It’s great knowing that we’re providing a service that allows us to put others above ourselves.”
More information on the Misawa Honor Guard can be found on the FSS Honor Guard website.