Drill Team launches into final leg of Fla. tour

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexandre Montes
  • Senior Airman Alexandre Montes
NASA is ready to launch the space shuttle and the United States Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team is ready to launch, too - launch into its final leg of the Florida tour.

Arriving at Cocoa Beach, Fla., Aug. 25, the team is near the end of its Florida tour. On the schedule is a performance during a commander's call at Patrick Air Force Base, and one at both Eau Gallie High School and the Florida Air Academy, a college preparatory military school. All three of these events are planned for one day.

This calls for an early departure time for an action-packed day. As they say, "the early bird catches the worm" and drill superiority is the "worm" today. Making a quick stop at Patrick, the four-man component of the Drill Team performs during the 45th Space Wing Commander's Call before racing to meet the rest of the Drill Team in Melbourne, Fla., at Eau Gallie High School.

"We are out here to do a mission, whatever it entails," said Staff Sgt. Michael Doss, Honor Guard Drill Team. "We pride ourselves on accomplishing this mission with honor."

Eau Gallie High School students were roaring with excitement as the Drill Team marched out to narration from Airman 1st Class Michael Courtright.

"Whoa! Watch out!" were shouts from the crowd during the favorite part of the Drill Team's routine, the "Gauntlet." This move requires the drill commander to march up and down a narrow path made by the Drill Team while team members spin rifles in a flurry.

With just one performance left for the day, weapons are packed up and the Drill Team heads to the Florida Air Academy. Founded in 1961 by Jonathan Dwight, the Florida Air Academy is the largest premier co-ed student leadership program in the United States. Student body members consist of domestic and international registrants from countries such as Taiwan, United Kingdom and Columbia.

For the last demonstration of the day, the Drill Team gives it their all in the gym. Head snaps, heel clicks, and precise movements captivate the academy students and faculty.

"I love this, it's awesome," said Arkadiy Smirnov, Florida Air Academy student.

"It was a privilege to perform in front of tomorrow's Air Force movers and leaders," said Airman 1st Class William Overton, Drill Team member.

For Drill Team members it was back on the bus to head to Miami, Fla. First, to Miami for a performance at University of Miami and then on to Fort Lauderdale for more high school performances. Only a couple more stops before the Florida tour comes to an end for 2009.