AF Memorial: Airman a 'model' honor guard member

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Madelyn Waychoff
  • Air Force Honor Guard Public Affairs
Forever standing guard over the Air Force Memorial, a color team bears the American and Air Force flags, flanked on each side by rifle guards. Depicted in these 8-foot statues are representations of Air Force Honor Guard members, past and present, who have each done a service to their country by bearing the flag, burying fallen Airmen, or honoring these Airmen's service with a "three volley" firing salute.

One of the four statues depicts a current honor guard Airman; Senior Airman Michael Goodwin who is the head trainer for the honor guard drill team. In the early concept stages of the memorial, Airman Goodwin was asked to be a model for one of the statues. He is now the United States flag bearer permanently in the memorial.

"Airman Goodwin epitomizes the attributes of every ceremonial guardsman," said Master Sgt. Jacob Pulling, Air Force Honor Guard drill team superintendent. "His discipline and bearing are impeccable, and at 6-foot 3-inches his presence is impressive."

According to the sculptor, Zenos Frudakis, the humanity of the four undefined figures of the honor guard became recognizable as individuals, reflecting the diversity of gender and races that strengthen the composition of the Air Force and the nation. The individuals came into view as unique people, with faces and bodies, evoking vitality and infusing a life into each figure -- inspiring connections to the real people who serve and sacrifice.

"This has been an amazing experience," said Airman Goodwin. "It's overwhelming; I never pictured myself doing something like this when I joined the Air Force. I guess I was just in the right place at the right time. It's great to be able to represent the Air Force, (the service has) done so much for me. To be able to stand here forever representing all Airmen is more than anyone could ever ask in his military career."

Airman Goodwin is also taking part in the ceremonies dedicating the memorial Oct. 14. As part of the drill team, he will be one member of the four-man drill team performing on the memorial before the dedication begins.

"I thought I wouldn't be here to see the actual dedication -- although I would've found a way to come back," he said. "But to actually be able to be a part of the dedication adds even more to this experience for me. I'll be able to take my children here, and all of my family, and show them what I was able to do for the Air Force, and tell them all the things the Air Force has done for me and my family."