TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
The mission of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard is to represent Airmen to the American public and the world. The vision of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard is to ensure a legacy of Airmen who promote the mission, protect the standards, perfect the image, and preserve the heritage.
The honor guard at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida is no different.
“Tyndall’s honor guard represents the Air Force on and off base,” said Staff Sgt. Logan Hernandez, Tyndall Air Force Base honor guard bravo flight sergeant. “We set the stage for what military tradition is, how it’s upheld, and what it’s supposed to look like. We’re carrying that Air Force image.”
A majority of Air Force bases have their own honor guard to support a wide variety of both base and community events. Their primary mission, however, is to support funerals of deceased Air Force and Army Air Corps veterans, retirees and active duty members. Recognizing fallen brothers and sisters in arms is the priority.
“Having Tyndall located in the northern panhandle where there’s a lot of retirees, it’s important to have a strong relationship with the community [to execute our mission],” added Tech. Sgt. Jaypaul Gaubault, Tyndall Air Force Base honor guard non-commissioned officer in charge.
Tyndall’s honor guard covers 24 counties across two states. This area of responsibility spans across northern Florida and southern Georgia, covering over 11,000 square miles.
“We’re bouncing around about a 3.5 hour radius taking care of veteran and retiree’s honors to include active duty funerals,” said Hernandez. “At least one person from each funeral comes up and talks to us; whether it be to thank us for our service or to give us a sincere thank you for closing that chapter of their military life.”
Many who experience being an honor guard member feel a sense of pride and fulfillment honoring current and past military members.
“Since joining honor guard, I’ve never felt so much purpose,” said Staff Sgt. Emma Coker, Tyndall Air Force Base honor guard member. “You genuinely see the reactions on peoples’ faces and how much you mean to them. You feel so appreciated by what you do. It’s such a unique operation that we do. I would recommend everybody in the Air Force take the opportunity to do it and see this side of [things].”
A current commitment to Tyndall honor guard is 12 months long. That includes six months actively supporting the honor guard mission, and six months on call for whenever needed.
“Honor guard is not just a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job,” said Master Sgt. Moriah Washburn, 325th Operations Group first sergeant. “There are days that you may have to work late or work on the weekends, however, I also think it is a very rewarding job being a part of the base honor guard team. It is an honor.”
For those stationed at Tyndall and interested in joining the base honor guard, relay interest through the chain-of-command and hope to be selected for the next rotation.
“Honor guard volunteers usually need to be in [pay] grades E-1 through E-5 and have their upgrade training completed,” said Master Sgt. Phillip Piddington, 325th Force Support Squadron first sergeant. “Volunteers should be professionals and good ambassadors for their units, the base, and the Air Force.”
According to Piddington, positions are quite sought after so don’t hesitate to voice interest sooner rather than later.
“I really enjoy honor guard,” concluded Senior Airman Chris Medina, Tyndall Air Force Base honor guard member. “If I could, I would stay and retire out of honor guard.”