Interested in job for razor-sharp Airmen? Honor guard is recruiting

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- The Team McConnell Honor Guard is looking for a few good Airmen.

Becoming an honor guard member means upholding standards of conduct and a level of professionalism above all other servicemembers.

That is exactly what members of the McConnell Honor Guard agree to do when they recite the group's creed upon acceptance to the team.

The team is looking for razor-sharp, highly-motivated people who are interested in joining the honor guard and representing the Air Force and its members past and present.

"We're always seeking new members," said Master Sgt. Eric Yeager, McConnell Honor Guard noncommissioned officer in charge.

The honor guard's primary mission is to render military honors to Air Force members and their families during funeral services.

"Sure, there have been a few times when a funeral ceremony has affected me," said Sergeant Yeager. "However, I have always stayed focused and professional. As honor guard members, we have to. We are there to provide a service and honor the deceased and their families."

"For many family members, we serve as the last memory of the Air Force they have," said Staff Sgt. Dormois Bazile, honor guard assistant NCOIC.

Honor guard members also represent the Air Force at a variety of ceremonial functions - on base and in the local community. They perform at events ranging from retirement ceremonies to changes of command.

Some of the details they are responsible for include posting and retiring the colors, performing retreat, conducting ceremonial flag folding, forming sword/rifle cordons and executing drill movements.

McConnell's honor guard performs three main functions - the color guard, body bearers and the firing party.

The color guard displays and protects the U.S. flag, the Air Force flag, state and territorial flags.

Body bearers carry flag-draped remains to burial sites, and they fold U.S. flags and present them to family members of deceased servicemembers.

The firing party element executes the 21-gun salute and is a seven-man team of members, who fire three volleys, or shots, in unison.

Airmen who join the honor guard receive an honor guard uniform free of charge.
However, becoming a member and getting a free uniform aren't the only perks to the job. The McConnell Honor Guard performs details across a 64,000 square-mile area, so there are opportunities for members to travel. There are also specially-marked parking spots for honor guard members around base. Plus, serving on the team provides members with positive bullets for their performance reports, and possibly with the chance to earn a decoration. Members can earn an Air Force Achievement Medal after participating in 20 ceremonies during a 12-month period, which is also the minimum amount of time people make a contractual commitment to the team.

"It takes a lot of hard work and commitment, but it's definitely worth it," Sergeant Yeager said.

Team members are on duty for two weeks, on call for two weeks and off for four weeks. During the two weeks honor guard members are on duty, they report to the honor guard for work - for the entire time. They work in their primary work environments when they are on call, but they must be prepared to perform a detail if the honor guard needs them. When they are off, they work at their primary workplaces, and do not perform honor guard details.

Potential members must not have an Article 15 in their records.

Training for potential honor guard members consists of a week-long course, which is conducted once a quarter. Airmen are assigned to one of four flights once they complete the training, and the next honor guard training session is Feb 12-16.

Airmen who are interested in becoming members of the Team McConnell Honor Guard, should call Sergeant Yeager at 759-3991 or stop by the honor guard facility in Bldg. 804.