Air Force graduates seven Airmen into elite Honor Guard team

  • Published
  • By Major Jennifer S. Spires
  • 11 Operation group
Family and friends donned smiles and proudly watched as the Air Force welcomed seven new members of the elite U.S. Air Force Honor Guard team, Aug. 26 in a ceremony here.

Col. Gina C. Humble, commander of the 11th Operations Group to which the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard reports, encouraged the seven graduates with three guiding principles.

"Principle number one, your journey starts today....Whether you're standing sharp, crisp and motionless at Arlington [National Cemetery] for hours on end in the rain, sleet or snow, or marching for miles in a parade in the extreme heat or cold, remember just how important your mission is -- to represent all Airmen, past and present," said Humble.

The premier units, on average, stand sharp, crisp and motionless in 2,700 ceremonies a year, according to Lt. Col. Kenneth A. Marentette, commander of the USAF Honor Guard, which is made up of more than 260 Airmen, in total.

"Principle number two, keep charging upward. Now that you've earned the title, 'Ceremonial Guardsmen', you must meet and exceed a new set of standards," she continued.

Citing the basic tenants of the Honor Guard charge: personal and professional conduct, appearance, physical fitness, and dedication; Humble reminded the Airmen to let their actions be above reproach at all times.

While Airmen may volunteer to become part of the USAF Honor Guard team as a special duty tour, the high standards for dress and appearance and the extreme physical demands placed on them, keeps many Airmen from even being considered.

"Principle number three, protect your 'blind side'," stated the Colonel.

Pulling from the 2009 film by the same name, Humble encouraged the graduates to take care of each other and to watch out for each other's blind side as did the lead character Michael Oher in the award winning movie, "The Blind Side".

"This is just the beginning," said Marentette. "From here, the graduates will begin competing for coveted spots on the Drill Team and will endure some pretty rigorous training...but they are up to the challenge, which is why they graduated today," he said.

For more information on the USAF Honor Guard, visit their website at: