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Springfield Honor Guard class graduates

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Amy Adducchio
  • 178th Fighter Wing
Eighteen Airmen earned their silver aiguillettes and "taps" as they graduated from an honor guard training course March 27 at Springfield Air National Guard Base.
This two-week training course was completed in one week's time, said Master Sgt. Jeff Sallee, the NCO in charge of the Springfield Air National Guard Base Honor Guard.
The 17 Guardsmen and one active-duty Airmen from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, received the same training as their active-duty counterparts from a traveling training staff headed by Staff Sgt. Danielle Lytle, the NCO in charge of training at Wright-Patterson AFB.
"The training that they received was how to perform veteran funerals, modified active duty funerals, and retiree funerals," said Sergeant Sallee. "If you take one of our members and incorporate them into active duty, you can't tell the difference," said Sergeant Sallee.
Members had to "re-learn" facing movements, because the honor guard's differ from those traditionally taught in the Air Force, said Sergeant Sallee.
They also learned how to use M-14s for military salutes, properly carry a casket, execute commands, properly wear the modified service dress, and perform two-person and six-person flag-folds over the casket.
"It's a way to contribute to the funeral honors," Airman 1st Class Eric Franklin of the 123rd Air Control Squadron, who graduated with the 17 other Airmen. Coming from a military background--his father retired from active duty as a master sergeant--the training was just what he expected, said Airmen Franklin. "I've been on drill team before, in tech school," he said. "It's a lot of work, especially keeping bearing."
"We average seven military funeral honors per day, and two to three color details--community events--weekly," said Sergeant Lytle. These figures are projected to increase until the year 2013, she said.
The honor guard covers a 210,000-mile area, spanning six states, including all of Ohio and Kentucky, and parts of Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, said Sergeant Lytle.
To meet the growing demand for honor guard services, the goal is to have a team of 30 servicemembers, said Sergeant Sallee. Six more individuals are waiting for training in June 2009.
"It takes a lot of time, dedication and patience," said Sergeant Lytle. "All 18 individuals showed a want and desire to do the mission."