Carry on military traditions by joining the wing honor guard
By Staff Sgt. Eric Hamilton , 129th Rescue Wing
/ Published July 28, 2009
MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- Bringing the military "snap" and professionalism to most solemn, patriotic moments, the honor guard provides a challenge that isn't for everyone.
"But if you're high-speed and value prestige and esprit-de-corps, we're looking for you," said Tech. Sgt. Rachel M. Velasco, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 129th Rescue Wing's honor guard.
Honor guards details typically include posting the colors at sporting events and military celebrations, flag-folding at retirement ceremonies and veterans' funerals, and appearing at a variety of other appropriate occasions.
Sergeant Velasco said that in the three years she's been serving in the honor guard, she's gotten a lot of opportunities to meet a variety of people, such as the time she was part of the honor guard serving at an Outstanding Airman of the Year banquet in St. Louis. "It was cool to hobnob with all the generals," she said.
It also means a lot to her to render honors for veterans' funerals.
"A lot of people think they don't have time for it," Sergeant Velasco said, "But you don't have to volunteer for every single detail we have."
She added that she's managed to get her preparation time down to "about an hour" before starting a detail.
In fact, that's the primary reason that the honor guard is looking for members. With only four members, the honor guard is currently at the minimum size it can operate at. Should even one member call in sick, the honor guard is unable to complete the mission. Ideally, the honor guard would consist of eight to ten trained Airmen.
With more members come more opportunities to serve. Sergeant Velasco said that the goal is to orient details to the regions in which members live, thus cutting down on travel time. Details typically cover an area from Los Altos to San Jose.
If you're a detail-oriented individual interested in the honor guard, Sergeant Velasco said to fill out an application form, have your supervisor and commander sign it, and forward it to her. She added that there is no minimum rank for honor guard, but you should complete your 5-level CDCs first.
If approved for the program, you'll go to Travis Air Force Base for a 5-day training program, where you'll receive your honor guard uniform.
There are significant benefits for honor guard members: special recognition, additional pay, travel opportunities and awards. Sergeant Velasco added that the best reasons for being in the honor guard are personal pride and a desire to preserve the military traditions of honor and respect.