Friday, May 2, 2008

VIEW FROM THE TOP >> An honorable guard

By Chief Master Sgt. Brooke McLean
314th Airlift Wing command chief

I watched another group of individuals make a significant step in their military progression two weeks ago as we graduated eight more Honor Guard members to serve Team Little Rock. As I watched the individuals perform the precision movements that characterize our Honor Guard, I reflected on what each of them mean to our community and to me, individually.

For our community, the Honor Guard provides invaluable services ranging from presenting our Nation's Colors to training and interaction with JROTC detachments to military funerals. Many of us are blessed to see these professional Airmen perform their details on a regular basis-we appreciate them for their dignity, appearance, and precision. Some in the community, especially the smaller outlying towns, see the Honor Guard infrequently. In fact, since our Honor Guard's area of responsibility covers the entire state of Arkansas, for some small community residents, the Honor Guard may be the only person in uniform they ever see. Those Honor Guard members become the Air Force in the eyes of those people ... and we cannot fail to represent our service well to the citizens we serve.

Individually, I thought about the significance of the military funeral and the role our Honor Guard plays in providing the ultimate tribute to a fallen comrade. Whether active duty, veteran, or retiree, I can think of no higher honor than having the cloth of our nation draped over the casket of someone who served their country. For the surviving family, having an Honor Guard detail perform must represent the ultimate farewell by comrades in arms. It would bring me great comfort to know my family member served with individuals the caliber we see in our Honor Guard.

To all Honor Guard members, past, present, and future, I offer my sincere thanks to you for your service and for how well you represent everyone who wears the uniform.


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