It’s a job of prestige in the U.S. military to serve on the honor guard.
The teams are made up of active-duty Airmen, who volunteer their time, and their mission is one of the most important of the Air Force.
Airmen First Class Dnriel Colli said he joined the Air Force looking for a challenge.
“I believe that intellectually the Air Force has a lot of challenges as far as leadership goes and really communication with a team,” Colli said.” That’s really what I wanted to strive for.”
Colli was moving right along as a human resource manager at Sheppard Air Force Base when an opportunity to be part of the honor guard came along.
“Our honor guard manager came in to brief us for about 30 minutes or so about honor guard,” Colli said. “From there, I was really just intrigued and I was curious about what honor guard has to offer.”
Honor guard managers like Tech Sergeant Phillip Acord visit different departments on base recruiting members for the elite team.
“Here at Sheppard Honor Guard, we have 30 members total that are assigned to the team,” Accord said. “It’s broken up into three different flights. Right now, this is A-flight and there’s ten members on this.”
The Airmen go through a little more than a year of training so they are prepared to present the U.S. and Air Force flags at events.
“A lot of these families for the veterans and retirees, their family members served back in World War II and Vietnam so they haven’t had a lot of affiliation with the military,” Acord said. “We take that to heart to provide the best honors that we can for those veterans and retiree families.”
The assignment also provides unforgettable moments.
“It is a certain feeling that is really hard to explain,” Colli said. “You’d have to be the person handing out the flag to the next of kin and just to see their reaction as far as like how grateful they are for us to be there. In order to give them that, that feeling of the Air Force remembers you supporting your family while they were serving this country that is not forgotten. We’re here.”
The honor guards also present the flags at events like baseball games. In fact, Sheppard was recently represented at the Rangers season opener in Arlington.