MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
The Mountain Home Air Force Base honor guard takes pride in their mission and craft as they train every day to cultivate Airmen dedicated to the excellence and precision required to carry out their ceremonial duties.
The honor guard is a special duty whose primary mission is to render final military honors to fallen and past Airmen.
The unit is composed of members from many different career fields who are hand picked to serve as a member of the United States Air Force Honor Guard including Tech Sgt Kyle Little, Mountain Home Air Force Base honor guard NCOIC.
"On average we'll have around 30 personnel," Little said. "However, manning is something I'm always looking to improve."
They forge their standards of conduct and level of professionalism to be above reproach, for they represent all others in their service and all Airmen past and present.
"We are held to higher standards than others," Little said. "I try to build these Airmen every day to realize that our first impression makes us who we are."
Little mentioned that when he was first an honor guardsmen he was taught that perfection is the standard but excellence will be tolerated.
"I still teach that to this day." he said.
In addition to military honors funerals, the honor guard participates in other events such as concerts, college football games, Air Force retirements, and change of commands.
The ceremonial uniform they wear is past down in a rich tradition and history, and the honor guard capitalizes on honoring our past Airmen by wearing the uniform properly and proudly.
"We of course follow AFI 36-2903 (Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel), however everything is held to a higher standard," Little said. "We represent not only the Unites States Air Force, we represent our great nation."
A typical ceremony may contain any number of unexpected events, however, the honor guard never allows their performance to be dictated by the type of ceremony, severity of the temperature or size of the crowd.
"Bearing is everything to us," Little said. "You have to be able to maintain your bearing, we can't make the slightest facial expression, reaction or sound underneath our breath.
Little explained that they their guardsmen train their bearing to ensure that it does not break during any event.
Through their rigorous daily training, the base honor guard remains superbly conditioned to perfect all movements throughout every drill and ceremony.
"We're out here training on everything everyday," Little said. "Everyone has to be each others mirror image in order to perform the same exact movements and the same exact time and speed."
The honor guards history is steeped in a tradition of excellence and each guardsmen is constantly driven to excel by a deep devotion to duty and a strong sense of dedication.
The lasting impression that the honor guard presents to Airmen and families trough their excellent presentation of our nations flag and elegant rendering of military honors is unmatched and can only be described as outstanding.
"A lot of the time we are the only interaction these families have with the military," Said SrA Carl Mason, 366th Control Maintenance Squadron and former base honor guardsman. "And so we aim to leave a lasting impression that stays with the family, that's a big thing."
The honor guard is the face of the Air Force to the world.
"People expect us to be the example of excellence and that's what we try to show here." Little said.
Their ceremonious and precise movements showcase their pride in showing the greatest amount of respect possible to our Nation, Airmen, and families.
Little also elaborated on the brotherhood aspect that guardsmen attain once they join the unit.
"To me it's definitely a family," Little said. "You have a second place to turn to when you need people. You gain friends that are willing to help you and build you up."
Little mentioned that many guardsman go on from the honor guard to accomplish great things.
Like SrA Carl Mason, who performed many NCOIC tasks while in the honor guard and went on to win the the John L. Levitow award while in Airman Leadership School.
"You develop a higher level of professionalism," Mason said. "It definitely gets you into the big picture mindset that no matter what the mission has to be successful."
"I feel like being a guardsmen is something that is very overlooked," Little said. "Being able to go out an provide final military honors for these families as that final send off, there's nothing more humbling."
The role of an honor guardsmen is one that protects the history and honor that comes with being an Airmen, showing a level of professionalism that all Airmen should strive for.
Steadfast in their art they remain dedicated to our nations call, guard our nations colors, and render a final solute to the heroes that have kept our nation safe.
Representing every member past and present of the United States Air Force they vow to stand sharp, crisp, and motionless, for they are ceremonial guardsmen.