Former Gunfighter Honor Guardsman one of ACC's best

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- A former Airman from the 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron was named Air Combat Command's 2013 Honor Guardsman of the Year at a spring leadership conference at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., March 26, 2013.

Senior Airman Dexter Tapley, who is a vehicle and vehicular equipment maintenance journeyman assigned to the 51st LRS, Osan Air Base, Korea, earned this noteworthy accolade through many hours of hard-work and sacrifice.

"I was absolutely shocked when I found out I was chosen," said Tapley. "I didn't expect to win at that level of command.

"When I first joined the team there were some big shoes to fill," he continued. "So I dedicated my time and energy to the program so we could be the best."

The hardwork paid dividends as Tapley won first quarter 2012 Honor Guardsman of the Quarter shortly afterward.

"The impact of his accomplishments for our base honor guard program as well as his contribution to the Air Force is simply amazing," said Tech. Sgt. Byron Harts, 366th Fighter Wing Honor Guard noncommissioned officer-in-charge. "Tapley is a natural-born leader who shortly after becoming a member of the team stepped-up and then lead a flight of elite guardsmen. He was without a doubt my go-to guy.

"I know I speak for the entire honor guard team when I say how thrilled, proud, and blown-away we are by his accomplishment," he continued. "Observing Tapley exemplify our core value of Service Before Self was a complete thrill since he did it as part of an elite, high-visibility program."

Only those with the highest level of impact in the base Honor Guard program are submitted for the ACC nomination.

"It's important to take chances and get out of your comfort zone by exploring special duties and to truly see what the Air Force has to offer," said Tapley. "Being the last military member a family sees before they lay a loved one to rest is a true honor and you don't know what that feeling is like until you experience it."

Tapley also understands that along with these experiences, many fellow Airmen have helped mold him into who he has become.

"I would like to thank everyone who I've worked with throughout the last two years," he continued. "I would never have made it as far as I did without the support of my fellow co-workers and honor guardsmen."