Honor Guard seeks members
By Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson, 120th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office
/ Published December 02, 2015
GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- The 120th Airlift Wing's Base Honor Guard is looking for a few good Airmen to join their team.
Honor guard members are responsible for providing ceremonial duties for the wing that include presenting the colors for formations and ceremonies held on base and in the local community, performing Operation Patriotism ceremonies for local schools, and providing military funeral honors for veterans.
The group is composed of volunteers who work in a variety of career fields found throughout the Montana Air National Guard.
120th Airlift Wing Tech. Sgt. Quinn Nelson, a one-year veteran member of the honor guard, said he joined the team because he was at a point in his career where he could devote more time from his personal and professional life to do something that would benefit the community.
"It's a need that needs to be fulfilled," Nelson said. "It's amazing how much it means to a family to have something as simple as what we do performed for them. It's a way to give back to the people that preceded me."
Members of the honor guard are expected to participate in at least four activities each year but members often volunteer for many more.
New members of the team must complete at least three training sessions with experienced members of the team. Once the training is complete, the members are issued their official base honor guard badges and uniforms.
The initial training provided includes the care and upkeep of an honor guard uniform and how to conduct the funeral honors and ceremonial duties.
During the November unit training assembly, Airmen assigned to the student flight had the opportunity to learn proper flag folding techniques from members of the honor guard.
The 11 flags that were folded were being prepared in advance for future military funeral honors.
The honor guard members hope the experience will provide encouragement for the new Airmen to join their team once they complete their Basic Military Training and technical training.
Student flight members learned how to remove a flag from a casket and fold it into the traditional triangular shape presented to family members.
"It's really emotional and it's a really good feeling at the same time," said student flight member Airman Basic Amy Jean Barille. "They're taking the time to honor that family member and it's really reassuring to have that person there."
Serving as a member of the honor guard is a great way to take on an additional duty and also provides a service to military veterans and the community.
"The honor guard is always looking for motivated people that want to give something back to their service," Nelson said. "We can always use more people."
New members can participate as members of the color guard, flag folding detail or firing party. If they have musical experience playing a brass instrument they are welcome to serve on the team as a bugler.
For more information on joining the 120th Airlift Wing Honor Guard, please contact 120th Airlift Wing Honor Guard Manager Chief Master Sgt. Marty Leonard at 406-791-0259.