The United States Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team performed at the 58th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show in downtown Chicago Aug. 20 – 21, 2016.
As part of the opening ceremonies, the drill team presented the colors during the National Anthem.
“It was an honor representing the Air Force at the show,“ said Senior Airman Josh Blanton, USAF Drill Team member. “Presenting the colors on the shore of Lake Michigan was a truly unique and humbling experience.”
Following the opening ceremonies, the drill team also performed four-man routines throughout the event, showcasing precision rifle maneuvers and military bearing.
“It is important that we showcase precision and bearing because that is what we rely on to defend our country,” said Senior Airman Tylor Pelletier, USAF Drill Team member. “We show that, in a moment’s notice, we have the discipline to ignore the distractions around us to complete the mission.”
According to the City of Chicago’s website the show brings in an estimated 2 million people each year, making it the largest show of its kind in the U.S. The show included headlining performances by the USAF Thunderbirds, the U.S. Army Golden Knights and the U.S. Navy Leap Frogs.
“My favorite part of the show was watching the Thunderbirds. I’ve traveled with them to different air shows and they are outstanding every time,“ Pelletier said. “The precision and accuracy they have in order to perform their maneuvers is amazing to watch.”
The show also featured a heritage flight, consisting of an F-35 Lightning II and a P-51 Mustang. John Trick, air and water show manager, said that this was the first time an F-35 was featured in the show.
According to Pelletier, his favorite part of performing is getting to interact with the crowd.
“The energy and positivity the crowd gives us, keeps me striving to perform better,” he said. “After our performances, we get to talk to the crowd and meet different people.”
For Pelletier, this performance was bittersweet as he says goodbye during this final trip as part of the USAF Drill Team.
“These past three years have been great, traveling all over with the Airmen I consider my brothers,” Pelletier said. “I will always be grateful for the opportunities I’ve had and the amazing people I’ve met being a part of this team.”
To be informed of more appearances by the USAF Honor Guard follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/USAFHonorGuard or visit their official website at www.honorguard.af.mil .