MTANG Honor Guard provides Veterans Day flag ceremony for assisted living center

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson
  • 120th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office
Five members of the Montana Air National Guard Honor Guard presented the colors during a Veterans Day ceremony held at a Great Falls assisted living center.

120th Fighter Wing members Maj. Rick Anderson, Senior Master Sgt. Christy Hagler, Master Sgt. Bob Bannister, Senior Airman Trevor Livingston and 219th RED HORSE Squadron member Airman 1st Class Stephanie Van Slycke formed the Veterans Day color guard team.

Two members served as rifle escorts while three carried "Old Glory", the state flag of Montana and the POW/MIA flag into the large meeting room for the assembled residents of The Lodge Retirement and Care Center.

MTANG members serving on the Honor Guard provide ceremonial support to unit formations, community events and military funeral services. Members say that serving in the group requires a dedication to the team, a commitment to participating in scheduled ceremonies and to live by the core values of the Air Force: integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do.

Van Slycke has been an active member of the Honor Guard for over one year and was proud to be able to carry the POW/MIA flag during the Veterans Day ceremony provided for the residents of the center.

"It's important to take that next step up and show my appreciation for the people who served before me," said Van Slycke. "I appreciate the service that they've done for me and now I hope to do the same for them."

Many of those in attendance during the ceremony served in the military during World War II or the Korean War.

Before the ceremony, the Honor Guard members were able to view an impressive collection of uniforms, medals and photographs the residents displayed that represented their service during both war and peacetime. The display was a humbling experience to the members of the Honor Guard and provided added meaning to the importance of the Veterans Day event.

Bannister joined the team in 1999 to honor the service of his father, who served as a member of the United States Air Force during the Korean War. As a senior member of the team he estimates that he has participated in several hundred ceremonies during his 14 years of service on the Honor Guard.

"Serving on the Honor Guard provides esprit de corps to the members of the team," said Bannister. "Veterans Day gives us an opportunity to respect all those military members that came before us and those that will follow us."

Bannister said he was touched by the patriotism of the resident veterans who continue to show an unwavering respect for the symbol of our nation. If they were physically able, they stood from their wheelchairs or walkers and placed their hands to their hearts to honor "Old Glory" as it was brought into the room by the members of the color guard.

The MTANG Honor Guard is always looking for additional members to join their team. If you are interested in learning more about the Honor Guard or would like to join the team, please contact Chief Master Sgt. Martin Leonard, Manager of the Montana Air National Guard Honor Guard, at 791-0259.