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U.S. Air Force Honor Guard instructors train MacDill base honor guard team

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mariette Adams
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Thirteen simple yet meaningful folds make up the ceremonial flag fold. The edges are aligned; every crease is crisp; each movement precise; the standards are set. Attention to detail and precision are on the minds of ceremonial guardsmen as they honor fallen service members. Although expertly performed, today’s ceremony is only a practice.

The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard (USAF HG) Mobile Training Team (MTT) visited MacDill Air Force Base, Florida to teach and reinforce ceremonial standards to base honor guard (BHG) members from MacDill, Hurlburt Field and Homestead Air Force Base, Florida, Aug. 29 - Sept. 7, 2016.

During the training, base honor guardsmen learned from the best of the best as they practiced flag folding, presentation of the colors, firing party and pallbearing.

“The visit brings us into their training environment to make sure that all base honor guards are standardized, so the funeral that someone gets here in Florida isn’t different then the funeral someone gets in Texas or the state of Washington,” said Senior Airman William Tramill, a USAF HG training flight instructor. “

The training provides standardization and gives the base honor guardsmen a chance to learn how to effectively adapt in their environment while utilizing their resources.

“It is beneficial for them because we get to see what they do on a daily basis and train them with their own equipment,” said Tramill. “The training we do is customized for this base and for this honor guard.”

Over the week and a half of instruction, the BHG Airmen received step-by-step instruction, followed by hands-on practice and finished with a training scenario where they performed an active-duty full-honors funeral demonstration.

“This training makes us see the importance of every single move we make and how every movement counts,” said Yenshim Watanabe, a member of the MacDill BHG. “When you fold the flag, if you are even a half inch off, your flag is going to be completely wrong. It makes us pay more attention to the smallest details and makes us aware that we can work as a team make sure that the final product is exactly what we want to give to the families.”

The training prepared the BHGs for the moment when they will honor the fallen, and place the flag, folded with care, into the arms of a grieving family member.

 “Coming full circle, 16 years ago, I was in their shoes as a second lieutenant,” said Lt. Col. Sergio Rios, the commander of the 6th Force Support Squadron (FSS). “Having served in multiple honor guards at different bases and now being the FSS commander, where the honor guard sits, it’s a true honor and privilege to see the next generation of Air Force leaders, taking the commitment to serve a higher calling.”