USAF Honor Guard Drill Team Online Hosting Support Manual

Thank you for your support in hosting the USAF Honor Guard Drill Team. The duties of a project officer are often broad with many expectations, we hope you find this page helpful to understand exactly what the Drill Team needs in order to provide flawless support for your event. If you need information that is not listed here, please give us feedback for improved hosting support.
Table of Contents
1) Performance Considerations
- Space requirements
- Performance length
- Practice time
- Ready room
3) Lodging Requirements
- Individual rooming
- Crew rest policies
5) Base Visit Helpers
- Attachment 4 (read)
- Cost Planner
- Sample itinerary
- Community events
2) Capabilities & Logistics
- Venue selection
- Large team
- Small team
4) Public Affairs/Media Information
- Special requests
- Crowd interaction
- Photo/autographs
- Do Something Amazing
6) Unsupportable activities
- Scope of mission
7) Special Thanks
- Lithograph requests

Download the Support Manual in PDF format here

Capabilities & Logistics

The 12-Rifle Performance Team
This is the largest performance the Drill Team provides--the sequence that has slight changes every year, but maintains certain components of the sequence that have been performed since the earliest performance years.

Maximum Crowd Size: There is no limit.  The 12-Rifle Performance Team has success interacting with immediate crowds in excess of 9K.  The performance is effectively visible from the farthest point in all gyms, most flightline grandstands, and nearly all professional stadiums/arenas.  For racetracks and other extremely large facilities, the performance should be simulcast on jumbo tron screens.

The 4-Rifle Performance Team
This is the most elite performance the Drill Team provides. Only after years of intense training are certain individuals selected to train and evaluated to  perform the 4-Rifle sequence.  This is the sequence that has had few changes in the last 15 years. 

Maximum Crowd Size:
Approximately 500--perhaps more or less, depending on the size of the space where the audience will be viewing. The performance is effectively visible to those within 300 feet. 

Unfortunately, due to various reasons--primarily the increased operations tempo of the USAF and decreased personnel availability--the Drill Team no longer provides the 16-Rifle Performance Team.

Lodging Requirements

Number in Traveling Party
The number of personnel varies depending on the size of performance team requested and the number of support personnel. Coordinate with Drill Team Current Missions and use these planning factors for reservation purposes:
- 16-Man Performance Team: 26 or 19 personnel 
- 4-Man Performance Team: 10 or 7 personnel

For Base Visit/Tour, check with Drill Team Current Missions to see if a lodging reservation has already been set.

Individual Lodging Requirement (Crew Rest Policies)
All Drill Team members (regardless of rank) require individual rooms.  This ensures crew rest requirements are met for alertness of all Airmen.  Due to recent compliance restrictions, this policy is not waiverable (when traveling in CONUS or staying on a DoD installation.)  Please coordinate with Drill Team Current Missions immediately, if you encounter a lodging situation that seemingly prevents individual lodging.  We will assist in locating available lodging and must elevate the situation to our command.

Crew Integrity
Some bases have quarters in many/seperated areas of the base. The Drill Team requests all lodging accomodations in the same building--this is to maintain crew integrity.   

Officer's/Chief's Quarters
When the Drill Team Commander and/or Drill Team Chief travel, 1 visiting officer's quarters and/or 1 chief's quarters (respectively) should be included in the lodging reservation. If officer/chief quarters are not available, do not lodge the Drill Team Commander or Drill Team Chief in the same/adjoining rooms of enlisted Airmen.  This ensures good order and discipline.  Coordinate with Drill Team Current Missions to inquire if these individuals are attending.

Unsupportable activities

Scope of Mission
Occasionally, some requests are outside the mission of the Drill Team.  Please note the following items:
- While in the performance of their duties, Drill Team members will not participate at venues that may disparage the US Government. 
- The Drill Team does request time to interact with Base Honor Guards but the Drill Team does not have the capability to provide training to Base Honor Guard during a base visit. For Base Honor Guard training, contact the Base Honor Guard Training NCOIC of the USAF Honor Guard.
- The Drill Team does not instruct/train JROTC or other drill teams.  Although many organizations safely operate drill teams, effective drill training cannot be compressed into the time available during a visit.  To attempt to do so would be a violation of AF operational risk management policy.

Remember, the Drill Team exists to personify the precision and discipline of every Airman in the Air Force to the general public.  There are some circumstances not listed above that may still be unsupportable requests within the scope of our mission.

Special Thanks

Host Commander's In-Brief/Office Call
During Base Visits, the Drill Team always requests a 10-15 minute in-brief (office call) with the host Base Commander & Base Command Chief.  The senior ranking Drill Team members will provide the in-brief (maximum of 2 will attend).  This is a courtesy extended to the host base on behalf of the USAF Honor Guard's direct-report commander, Major General Frank Gorenc, the Air Force District of Washington Commander.

Coins & Lithographs
Project officers, if you would like the Drill Team to recognize certain individuals who have assisted in the preparation of the performance, please compile a list including name (rank & unit) and their contribution and send to Drill Team Current Missions.  Only a limited number of Drill Team coins or lithographs are available during each visit, only consider a maximum of 2 lithograph recipients and 5 coin recipients (not including the host Base Commander, Base Command Chief, or the Project Officer).  

Special Promotional Items (AF Recruiting's SPI's)
AF Recruiters (and project officers); you should work at least 30-days in advance to obtain SPI's from HQ AF Recruiting Service.  HQ Air Force Recruiting Service determines whether or not the event qualifies for SPI distribution, please coordinate with Drill Team Current Missions for the POC in San Antonio to send this request. 

Drill Team Leadership




Tech. Sgt. Timothy Quinn

Flight Chief


Performance Considerations

Space Requirements
Space requirements vary by the size of performance team, regardless, to ensure the safety of everyone you must ensure there is adequate space according to the planning factors below--more space is better than not enough (and not having enough space may result in a cancelled performance upon site inspection).  Vertical obstructions within 20 feet must be discussed with Drill Team Current Missions.
- 16-Man Performance: a minimum space of 60 feet wide x 40 feet deep x 20 feet high is required for this performance. Visualize the space a regulation volleyball court takes, this is a good rule of thumb for the amount of space required.
- 4-Man Performance: a minimum space of 20 feet wide x 20 feet deep x 20 feet high is required for this performance. 

Performance Length
Performance lengths vary depending on the audience, use the planning factors below to coordinate with Drill Team Current Missions on the length of your performance.
- 16-Man Performance: a standard performance is 18 minutes and a halftime performance is 7 minutes. 
- 4-Man Performance: 8 minutes.

Practice Time
Although performances may be scheduled for a certain time, the Drill Team needs access to the performance location at least 2-hours prior to complete a 1-hour on-site practice, and light/sound check. Understandably, some events host social hours in the performance area in the hour preceeding the performance; in these cases, the practice time must be moved two hours prior to the social hour start time. Unlike other USAF performance units, Drill Team practices are closed. If you would like a media performance (see PA considerations tab) please coordinate with Drill Team Current Missions and a media-only performance may be arranged. Drill Team Current Missions may waive some practice times if the Drill Team is familiar with the performance location and event setup. 

Ready Room
The Drill Team requires a secure room, blocked from traffic/use by any other personnel. This room is needed at least 1.5-hours prior to, and 30-minutes after, the performance time. Please ensure that the room is large enough to accomodate the size team you have requested/number in traveling party. Also, a clothes/hanging rack and mirror are requested to maintain clean & serviceable uniforms.

Travel Time (Crew Rest Policies)
USAF Honor Guard operating instructions provide for certain minimal crew rest hours to ensure the alertness of all Drill Team members. Drill Team members must have at least 8 hours of off-duty time prior to a performance practice. Drill Team members may not exceed 15-hour duty days (including travel time; duty days begin when personnel are reasonably required to be awake in order to be at a location at a certain time).  "Jetsetting", where personnel arrive via air transport within 12-hours of their performance, and where personnel travel outside a 3-hours radius of Bolling AFB the same day as a performance, is not permitted.  Finally, the Drill Team members cannot perform more than 3 of any type of performance, in a 24-hour period.  Certain crew rest policies may be waived by the Drill Team Flight Commander; coordinate these with Drill Team Current Missions.

The Performance Floor
The performance floor must not be highly polished or slick and cannot be made of extremely delicate materials (unfinished hardwood, expensive tile/terrazzo). If this flooring is present and you still request a performance then the USAF Honor Guard will not be held liable for damage. Please coordinate this situation with Drill Team Current Missions.

Photography/Room Lighting
Photography is encouraged, however flash photography must not be aimed "up" (photographer kneeling down, pointing camera up) in the eyes of the Drill Team members. Likewise, spotlighting must not shine in the eyes of the Drill Team members. This is to prevent blinding flash-"washout," since audience members are not familiar with sequence of when rifles will be spun/thrown in the air. In some cases, the official Drill Team photographer will be the only photographer authorized to shoot this camera angle, since this person is trained and familiar with the sequence, and certified to shoot without risking the safety of the Drill Team members.  Refer to the PA considerations tab for more assistance supporting both military and non-military media.

For outdoor performances, weather is a critical consideration.  Due to the intensity & speed at which the drill rifles are thrown, even a slight amount of moisture caught between the wooden stock and the glove of a Drill Team member can result in an irrecoverable out of control weapon.  Additionally, even mildly cold weather affects the full dexterity of a Drill Team members hand which again sets the stage for a performance error.  Performance errors can easily result in serious Drill Team member or audience injury because the weapon is no longer moving under control.  Essentially, cold weather and/or slight moisture conditions prevent positive weapon manuever & control.  Always plan an alternate indoor location that can accomodate the audience and meets the space requirements mentioned on this page.

Entrance/Exit Path & Parking
The Drill Team will require an unobstructed entrance and exit path to get to the performance location.  This means that an area needs to be clear from the ready room to the performance area, and back.  For sports venues (arenas, stadiums, race tracks, etc.) the Drill Team needs access to the field ramp or a ramp that takes players onto the ground-level.  Also, ensure there is nearby/reserved parking for the 45-passenger coach bus that transports the Drill Team to/from performances.

Additional Weapons Safety
During extended base visits and some off-base performances, the Drill Team may be required to coordinate with local Security Forces to secure 18 M-1 garand rifles in an approved Air Force armory. Please coordinate with Drill Team Current Missions to find out if your performance requires additional weapons safety procedures.

Performance Exclusivity
From the time the Drill Team introduction begins (performance time) until the conclusion of the PA fallout (see PA Considerations tab,) the Drill Team needs exclusive use of the audio/visual/public address systems and the performance location should be away from other events that may disrupt the audience experience, if you are not sure of the proximity of another scheduled event, coordinate with Drill Team Current Missions.  At events where other AF performance teams are present (AF bands, aerial demo teams, Tops in Blue, USO, etc.,) the Drill Team will not begin until all other performances are complete.  Do not schedule another performance during the Drill Team's allotted time, to include Drill Team's PA fallout in that time block. Live AF bands/recorded background music and aerial flybys greatly detract from the audience experience and cannot take place in conjunction with Drill Team performances. Joint performances of this nature require significant months of coordination by participating performance teams.

PA Considerations

Public Affairs Interaction (PA Fallout)
The Drill Team always enjoys the opportunity to interact with crowd members immediately following the performance. Within seconds of ending the performance, our narrator can invite the crowd onto the performance area (where logistically possible) and Drill Team members can bring signature photo cards and other AF Recruiting special promotional items to distribute to potential Air Force recruits. Please remember the following items when planning a PA fallout:
- Expect at least 30-minues for a PA fallout, these often run longer if kids & families are attending.
- The Drill Team can also address JROTC groups as a whole, (Q&A style) this normally runs 20-30 minutes.
- To comply with Air Force operating instructions, audience members may touch and be photographed holding the weapon, but they will not be permitted to actually take control of any weapons. Drill Team members may use force to prevent unauthorized access to Air Force weapons.
- In order to distribute special promotional materials, you must coordinated in advanced with Drill Team Current Missions. 

Media Interviews
All Drill Team members are trained in basic AF media relations and are prepared for full/live coverage media interviews. The media is welcome to interview any member of the Drill Team, however please notify Drill Team Current Missions if you intend to allow media interviews pre/post-performance. We will be sure to identify members who hail from the local area and include the Air Force Hometown News Release. Please note, Drill Team members will remain standing during interviews.

Cutlines & Related Media in AFLINK/AFPIMS
The appropriate title of the Drill Team is the "U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team, 'alternatively shortened to "USAF Honor Guard Drill Team" or simply "Drill Team,"  Please refrain from shortened titles such as the "US Drill Team," "AF Silent Drill Team" or "Presidential Drill Team."

The official public website for the Drill Team is  This is available as a related media link in AFLINK by searching "drill team", using the exact words option.  Choose the "AF Honor Guard Drill Team" result.

If you have loaded stories related to the Drill Team on the AFLINK server, send an email to the Air Force District of Washington Public Affairs office with the story ID or URL and we will forward to the USAF Honor Guard webmaster to include in our specific story tab on the USAF Honor Guard website.

Unaffiliated Media & Information Accuracy
Project officers & Public Affairs offices, you should provide the main Drill Team webpage to civilian media outlets to assist with information accuracy.

Visit Best Practices/Helpers

Attachment 4
All Drill Team host project officers should begin with Attachment 4, download this document here.

Basic Visit Itinerary
The sky is the limit on performances, within the requirements mentioned on this page. Work with Drill Team Current Missions to build as large-scale a performance as you would like.  A skeleton itinerary is available here.

Senior Leader's Support
When senior leader's get involved and encourage attendance at a Drill Team performance is when the most noticeable morale boost is gained.  Some Commander's & Chief's will schedule "all-calls" at the base gym for a Drill Team performance, or declare the Drill Team performnance an alternate duty location.  Other's send basewide messages from their personal email to the entire base advertising the Drill Team performance.

Chief's/Top 3, Middle Tier (5/6), Airmen's Groups, and CGOC's
These are excellent organizations to involve and we can perform in a small setting for these organizations if meetings are setup.  This is an excellent opportunity for the USAF Honor Guard Recruiting members to provide a special duty briefing about joining the USAF Honor Guard.

ALS/FTAC/NCOA (and all other Tech Schools or PME's)
These are highly preffered stops during the visit.  If enough time is provided within crew rest terms, then these organizations can watch a 4-man performance.  Again, USAF Honor Guard Recruiting members can provide a special duty briefing to these individuals about joining the USAF Honor Guard.  Host base Airmen in these schools are the target audience for the USAF Drill Team.

Basewide Events
Mixers, barbeques, pavilion picnics, etc. are all best practices from past base visits.  Drill Team members can bring several promotional recruiting items to events to enhance the atmosphere for families & kids.  Basewide Commander's calls to watch the performance have remained the largest hit among all the base visits of the Drill Team.  Suprisingly, there are Airmen with 15-20 years time in service where this will be there first time to watch the Drill Team perform live!

Community Events
The Drill Team works very closely with AF Recruiting Service to identify large sporting events and air shows throughout each year.  While this list is extensive, it is not exhaustive, so if there is a major event in the community the Drill Team may not be aware and not planning to perform there.  Performance are just as exciting for community members as they are for Air Force members.  The Drill Team works with the local Recruiting Squadron to coordinate performances in the key local High Schools (time permitting), but if there are other community events to be involved in please be sure to discuss with Drill Team Current Missions.


Click To View U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Schedule 

For information about how to schedule or request a performance, click here and contact the scheduling office.

Contact Us

USAF Honor Guard
48 Duncan Ave., Suite. 1
Bolling AFB, DC 20032

Public Affairs