USAF Honor Guard wraps-up international performances

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Nichelle Anderson
  • 11th Wing Public Affairs
Twenty members of the United States Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team wrapped up three weeks of performances in the United Kingdom during the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Edinburgh, Scotland Aug. 29.

During this year's tattoo, the drill team represented not only the USAF but also the Department of Defense as the only U.S. military branch to perform.

The USAF Honor Guard Drill Team performed six nights a week, center stage of the Esplanade Castle, to a sold-out crowd of more than 6,000 people with two performances on Saturdays.

"Representing my country and the Air Force on such a world stage as the Edinburgh Tattoo was a great honor and a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Staff Sgt. Daniel Sellstrom, USAF Honor Guard Drill Team member. " I feel blessed and humbled that I was able to take part of such a great event."

The event included more than 1,390 performers from the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and Canada. The show featured the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard, Bollywood dancers from India, the military band of the People's Liberation Army of China, the Top Secret Drum Corps from Switzerland, the Royal Air Force and Queen's Colour Squadron Mass Band, The Citadel Regimental Band and Pipes from the Citadel Military College of South Carolina and more.

The tattoo is a 'global gathering' that showcased the talents of musicians and performers from every corner of the globe.

Among the attendees was distinguished guest and senior representative for the USAF, Maj. Gen. Darryl Burke, Air Force District of Washington commander.

"Our Airmen represented not only our Air Force and military as a whole, but were ambassadors of our country during this event," said Burke. "I'm proud that we could showcase on the world's stage what many back home already know--these Airmen personify the integrity, discipline, and professionalism that make our Air Force the best in the world."  

Tattoo organizers scoured the world to gather a cosmopolitan cast of the top-class international performers for this year's production. The 66th production of the tattoo titled, 'East meets West,' celebrated the contrast that exists in our world and elements that were largely consistent.

"The tattoo has quite an astonishing pedigree," said Brig. David Allfrey, former Royal Scots Dragoon Guard commander and Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo producer. "Each year we look to remain authentic but at the same time innovating; always looking to exceed the expectations of our audience."

According to event organizers, each year the tattoo is broadcast in more than 40 countries to a television audience of 100 million world-wide. Since the first tattoo in 1950, more than 14 million people have attended the performance.

Since 1952, these performers from around the world have come to symbolize the camaraderie that British soldiers, sailors and airmen have with service members around the world.

Following the tattoo performances each day, performers from the East were able to meet, fellowship, strengthen international ties and build life-long friendships with those from the West.
"It's a bittersweet feeling," said Senior Airman Angela Mitchell, U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team member. "I'm happy to get back home to America, but I'm a little sad it's coming to an end because it was such an amazing experience performing for millions of people."