No days off: an honor guard’s commitment

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zachary Foster
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing, Public Affairs

The 6th Air Refueling Wing honor guard is composed of select Airmen brought together under a common goal: to pay homage to their fellow Airmen with dignity and respect for their honorable and faithful service.

These honor guardsmen are responsible for performing at retirements, military funerals, Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Hat Table ceremonies, welcoming foreign and domestic dignitaries and conducting the presentation of The Colors.

Through hard work and dedication, MacDill’s honor guardsmen are able to learn the fundamentals of the position in an accelerated two-week training course.

“Our commitment [to honor guard] starts with two weeks of training before we take part in any ceremonies,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jimmy Montero, 6th ARW honor guardsmen. “Those two weeks, however, are just the fundamentals. Whenever we aren’t performing we’re in here practicing our craft.”

Honor guard, like most careers in the Air Force, requires extreme attention to detail. According to Montero, prior to every ceremony the team thoroughly cleans and polishes the bugles and holsters, in addition to a full uniform inspection.

“We stress about every detail because the families we’re performing for deserve it,” said Montero. “It’s important for all of our Airmen to understand that whichever ceremony we’re performing may be the first or last impression a family member will have with the Air Force as a whole.”

The honor guard team works with families to schedule military honors any time and any day. Their dedication to honoring their fellow Airmen motivates them to perform when most won’t.

“We are here to support the family always,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph Baldwin, 6th ARW honor guard non-commissioned officer in charge. “When the family wants a service, we provide it. No days off.”

According to Montero, among the ceremonies honor guard perform, the military funeral is the most important. The military funeral provides them with the opportunity to honor and commemorate fellow Airmen who faithfully served their country.

“I feel a deep connection with every ceremony I conduct,” said Montero. “Whether it be a young Airman whose journey was cut too short or an old veteran whose long history is coming to an end, we serve them with dignity and respect.”

As a pillar of the military community, MacDill AFB extends its gratitude to all service members who have dedicated themselves to their country and to the Tampa Bay community for their ongoing support.

For more information on the MacDill honor guard and how to request their support, please visit