Honor Guard member trades saber for baton

  • Published
  • By Amelia Harrington
  • Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Public Affairs
First Lt. Michael Lemorie graduated college with the intent to conduct music, but after applying to orchestras around the world and receiving no interview opportunities, he enlisted with the Air Force. That was in 2002. Now, ten years later, he's a flight commander in the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard.

However, on Aug. 3, he stood tall in front of the crowd with a commanding presence, and expertly conducted the U.S. Air Force Band. Lemorie was a guest conductor, invited for a one-time event during the Band's summer time series at the Air Force Memorial.

Never before has a member of the USAF Honor Guard conducted the band, said Col. Larry Lang, the USAF Band's commander and conductor. Lang learned of Lemorie's musical education and background and thought this would provide a wonderful opportunity for collaboration between the Band and Honor Guard units.

"I saw the Honor Guard do their portion of the Arlington mission and was very impressed, in particularly, with Lt. Lemorie," said Lang.

Before this, Lemorie hadn't used his three musical degrees often during his military career, he said. He thought he'd given up his dream of professionally conducting, and had exchanged it for one in the USAF Honor Guard.

Prior to the USAF Honor Guard, Lemorie was stationed in Germany, as a vehicle operator. There, he became involved with the "Tops in Blue" group, where he displayed his range of vocal skills. This opportunity was cut short by an injury, which made him unable to perform.

Despite setbacks, he doesn't regret his decision to enter the Air Force. "I would not trade any of those experiences," said Lemorie. "That road was rocky and mostly uphill, but it's made me a better person and a more effective officer today. If I had to make the choice again I would take the same path."

While in Germany he made connections, including Maj. Scott Guidry, director of operations for the USAF Band, who was then the United States Air Force Europe Band Commander.

"He contacted me and I worked with him a bit," said Guidry. "Knowing his education level and seeing his skills, I definitely saw potential."

Lemorie auditioned for the USAF Band twice, but neither audition yielded a position.

"I closed that chapter in my life - I came up with other goals and desires, and other life journeys that I wanted to go on for my Air Force career."

Now, in the USAF Honor Guard, he reconnected with Maj. Guidry and set a date and time to accomplish a goal and dream of his.

The musical piece chosen was "Aerial Fantasy." Lemorie's fantasy became a reality.

"I wanted to give him something substantial that he'd have to work at putting together, said Lang. He took it on with enthusiasm and excitement and did a very nice job."

Lemorie waved the conductor's baton proudly over the 53 piece orchestra during the performance.

"You do feel like you're king of the world when you're in front of an ensemble," Lemorie said. "I know that everything happens for a reason, and I'm not sure what all those reasons are at this time, but I have faith and trust that they'll reveal themselves."

Lemorie didn't expect the chance to display his musical prowess, or harken to his days prior to the military, but it has been given to him in dream-come-true style. He readily provided advice for others who have put their aspirations on a shelf.

"I would encourage everyone to never give up on their dreams and their passions. Life is going to throw forks in the road, and curveballs. Instead of being bent out of shape and angered by them, you need to pause," said Lemorie. "Take them for what they are. Learn from them."