Air Force Honor Guard holds annual training at Maxwell

  • Published
  • By Ashley M. Wright
  • Air University Public Affairs
Maxwell Air Force Base served as the new home for annual training of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team. The team spent the past month learning its 2008 routine here. Team members' work will culminate with a "sneak peak" performance as a thank you to the base community for its hospitality, said Staff Sgt. Francisco Garrigas, drill team trainer.

The team plans to hold the presentation Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at Officer Training School's Welch Field, said Capt. Joshua Hawkins, drill team commander. In the event of inclement weather, the event will move to Boyd Auditorium in OTS Bldg. 1487.

The team is a branch of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard based out of Bolling Air Force Base, D.C., and this is the first time the base hosted the training. For the past 12 years, the group learned and refined its new drill sequence at Lackland AFB in Texas, the captain said. With increasing space constraints at Lackland, Air Force officials helped find the team a new home.

The "mentality of training" on the base and the team effort from everyone involved allowed the drill team to relocate here, Captain Hawkins said. "It's been great."
While staying on the base, OTS provided living quarters, classrooms and other facilities for the team. The base honor guard allowed the group access to its hangar for training.

Each year members of the drill team spend about a month on temporary duty learning a new routine, which allows them to continue their mission as ambassadors for the Air Force, the captain said. Being away from their home base allows for a greater focus for the members.

"We are the only military service that comes up with a new routine every year," Sergeant Garrigas said.

The team will perform the routine it learns and perfects here around the world over the next year to inspire everyone "to feel better or do better," said Staff Sergeant Michael Doss, NCO in charge of drill team current mission.

The group performs at various events and locations ranging from high schools with Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps to halftime shows at National Football League games, Sergeant Doss said. He said that the team spends more nearly 180 days per year on TDY.

The TDY to Maxwell proved "spectacular" for the team, Captain Hawkins said.
"Everyone has been compassionate and helpful," Sergeant Doss said about how the base worked to make the group's stay as comfortable as possible.

Twenty-seven instructors, personnel and performers spend nearly 16 hours a day practicing their routine.

The group starts with physical training at 5:30 a.m. and ends between 9 and 10 p.m. each night with uniform preparations for the next day, Sergeant Garrigas said.
"The day is pretty nonstop," he said.

The younger Airmen on the team spend an additional 20 to 30 minutes each night performing a walk-through of the sequence, Sergeant Doss added. Only enlisted members from airman 1st class through staff sergeant perform the routine.