USAF Honor Guard march in Bud Billiken Parade

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Nesha Humes
  • 11th Wing Public Affairs
In a parade of smiling, sequined dancers and high school band performances, the United States Air Force Honor Guard marched in a precise synchronized rhythm during the 85th Annual Bud Billiken Parade on Aug. 9, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.

The parade is aimed at improving the quality of life for African Americans through educational, cultural and social programs. It is the second largest and longest continuous education parade in the U.S. It highlights the significance of education by providing underprivileged children a chance to be in the spotlight.

The USAF Honor Guard participated in the event to highlight the Air Force mission through its precision drill and ceremonial presentations.

"I believe our performance in the parade was spot on, "Maj. Scott Belton, USAF Honor Guard assistant director of operations said. "We practiced new movements and they were executed perfectly. The audience cheered us on immensely and there were people wanting to sign up as we marched by. Our mission was to come out here and represent the Air Force. Judging from the reaction of the kids today, I felt we did exactly that."

The honor guardsmen executed various rifle-exhibition movements for audience members while marching the 2.67-mile parade route. The 40-person formation marched in front of a live and televised audience of millions.

The gathering of families and friends raising cameras and children as they lined the street to catch the best view was all too familiar for one honor guardsman.

A Chicago native, Belton, attended the parade annually. As a boy, his favorite performances were of the high school drill teams and military service members. Every year he would watch and think to himself, "I can do that."

Years later, he has become the person he looked up to as a child by leading the United States Air Force's elite ceremonial unit, down the streets he once called home.

"It was a great feeling having the chance to see all the kids admiring our march and representing the United States Air Force Honor Guard along with the Nation's Capital," Belton said.

The USAF Honor Guard marching unit was comprised of the Colors Flight, pallbearers, and members of the firing party and drill team.

"I felt privileged to perform for the youth of Chicago," says Senior Airman Avion Perez, USAF Honor Guard Drill Team head trainer. "I'm grateful these programs exist to help and support youth education. I'm also thankful to be part of something bigger than myself."

The USAF Honor Guard participated in the Bud Billiken Parade in order to represent Airmen to the American public and inspire awareness of the Air Force mission.