Honor Guard participates in Myrtle Beach's Memorial Day celebrations

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tabitha N. Haynes
  • Air Force District of Washington Public Affairs
The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard drill team and parade flight participated in the Memorial Day parade at Myrtle Beach, S.C., May 28.

"What we wanted to do is have units, military in particular, that could demonstrate the high quality of the people who come into the Armed Forces today, particularly the Air Force," said General (Ret.) Robert H. Reed, former chief of staff, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Mons, Belgium. General Reed's other senior leadership roles included assistant vice chief of staff of the Air Force, wing commander, air division commander and fighter-jet pilot.

General Reed worked with the city and the chamber of commerce to promote the Memorial Day event. He helped them get units and groups to participate in the parade, he said.
"Look at the group we got here," said General Reed turning to the drill team preparing for their performance to his left. "We got a superb example of great talent and outstanding young men."

Myrtle Beach dedicated May to honor servicemembers, naming it Military Appreciation Month. The parade had an expected audience of more than 50,000 people. U.S. Senator John McCain was the elected grand marshal for the parade.

In addition to the USAF Drill Team performing, the USAF Honor Guard parade flight marched in the parade down Ocean Boulevard.

"I have marched in several parades while at the Honor Guard, but the Myrtle Beach parade was definitely one of my most memorable," said Capt. Justin Hochstein, commander of the drill team and officer in charge of the parade flight.

The USAF Honor Guard drill team has participated in 28 performances this year. Additionally, the parade flight being a newer ensemble of the honor guard, has participated in 11 events this year.

"The drill team is a traveling component of The USAF Honor Guard, whose mission is to inspire Air Force awareness among military and civilian audiences through its complex drill presentations," said Captain Hochstein. "The drill team personifies the integrity, discipline, teamwork, and professionalism of every Airman and every Air Force mission."

Airman 1st Class Lucky Caswell, ceremonial guardsman with the USAF Honor Guard, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C., and native of Columbia, S.C., was among the Airmen marching in the Memorial Day parade.

"It was an event that really made me understand just how important my job is and what it means to others that look up to us," said Airman Caswell. "My step dad, (Ret.) Senior Master Sgt. Caughman, came out to see the parade. That was a good feeling to know that he was there backing me up and to know that I was representing him as well.

Myrtle Beach would like to have the USAF Honor Guard back next year to participate in the Memorial Day events, said General Reed.

"All of the spectators who attended were extremely supportive, and cheered for us the entire length of the parade," said Captain Hochstein. "I felt a great sense of pride to be able to represent my service on a day where we remember all those who have served this great nation."

More information on Myrtle Beach's Military Appreciation Month can be found at: http://www.militaryappreciationdays.com/.